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New York and Washington 



Copyright, 1906, by 






To the Noble Women of the South, 






John H. Morgan, Frontispiece 

John H. Morgan, lieutenant in the war with Mexico, 15 

Map showing the military situation in Kentucky and Tennessee, 
1861, 28 

Map showing route taken by General Morgan in his first raid into 
the "Blue Grass Region" of Kentucky, July, 1862, 114 

Map showing scene of General Morgan's operations previous to 
his raid across the Ohio, .... 212 

Basil W Duke commanding 1st Brigade, Morgan's Division, . . 228 

Adam R. Johnson commanding 2nd Brigade, Morgan's Division, 291 

Map showing route taken by General Morgan through Kentucky 
and Indiana, July, 1863, 294 

Map showing route taken by General Morgan through Ohio, 
July, 1863, 322 

Map showing route through Virginia of those who made their es- 
cape from Ohio in July and August, 1863, 374 

Map showing route taken by General Morgan on his last raid into 
Kentucky, 384 

Map showing those portions of East Tennessee and West Vir- 
ginia, operated in by General Morgan's brigade, under com- 
mand of Brig. Gen. B. W. Duke, winter of 1864-65, 402 

Map of route of General B. W. Duke, commanding General 
Morgans cavalry, from southwest Virginia to Gen. J. E. John- 
ston's army at Charlotte, N. C., April, 1864, and route while 
with President Davis from Charlotte to the South Carolina line, 434 



Qualities as a Commander — His Rapid 
Creation of an Efficient Cavalry Com- 
mand, and Discovery of New Uses for 
that Arm of the Service, ii 

II. Political Sentiment and Conditions in 

Kentucky in 1861 — Why She Failed to 
Secede — Military Situation in the 
West — Confederate Occupation of 
Bowling Green — Organization and 
Equipment of Confederate Troops at 
that Date — Their Military Character- 
istics, . . 20 

III. Morgan Leaves Home for the Army — 

Scouting and Skirmishing on Green 
River — Organization of "Morgan's 
Squadron" — Terry's Rangers — Retreat 
from Bowling Green — Evacuation of 
Nashville — Active and Exciting Service 
About L'Auvergne, Murfreesboro and 
Gallatin — Concentration of Army at 
Corinth for Battle, 38 

IV Battle of Shiloh — Death of Albert Sid- 

ney Johnston — Morgan made Colonel — 
Expedition into Tennessee — Success at 
Pulaski Followed by Defeat at Lebanon 
— "Black Bess" — Dash on Cave City, 75 

V Reorganization at Chattanooga — First 

Raid into Kentucky — Fight at Tomp- 
kinsvillE — Capture of Lebanon — In the 
Heart of the "Blue Grass" — Strategic 
Use of the Telegraph — Fight at Cyn- 

contents ix 

thiana — Return to Tennessee — Dash 
into Middle Tennessee and Service in 
the Vicinity oe Nashville — Capture of 
Boone's Regiment — Constant Skirmish- 
ing, Many Prisoners Taken and Paroled 
— Destruction oe the Railroad — Sharp 
Combats at Gallatin and Cairo, 105 

VI. Bragg's Invasion of Kentucky — Morgan 

Joins Him — "Bushwhackers" — Service 
in Front of Covington and in the Moun- 
tains — Bloody Combat at Augusta — • 
Command Greatly Increased Numerical- 
ly — Retreat of Confederate Army from 
Kentucky, 157 

VII. Morgan Attacks and Defeats Federals at 

Lexington — Marches to Western Ken- 
tucky and Thence to Gallatin Again — 
Active Service between Murfreesboro 
and Nashville — Battle of Hartville — 
December Raid into Kentucky — Whole- 
sale Destruction of Railroad Tracks 
and Bridges — Capture of Elizabeth- 
town — Fight at the Rolling Fork — 
Midwinter Campaigning — Combats at 
Woodbury, Milton and Snow's Hill — 
Cluke's Expedition into Kentucky — 
Fight at Mt. Sterling, 197 

VIII. Service Around Alexandria and Liber- 
ty — Fight at Greasy Creek — Start on 
the Great Raid — Passage of the Cum- 
berland — Fighting at BurkesvillE, Col- 
umbia, Green River Bridge and Lebanon 
— Crossing the Ohio — Through Indiana 
and Ohio — Constant Collisions with 
the Militia — Marching around Cincin- 
nati — Morgan Defeated at Buffington, 
Himself and Greater Part of His Com- 

x contents. 

mand Captured — In the Ohio Peniten- 
tiary — Morgan's Escape, . . . 280 

IX. Remnant op Morgan's Men Serve Faith- 
fully while Their Leader is in Prison — 
Their Conduct at Chickamauga — Mor- 
gan's Own Service aeter His Escape — 
Fights With Averill and at Dublin 
Depot and Crockett's Cave — Last Raid 
into Kentucky — March through the 
Mountains — Bloody Combat at Mt. 
Sterling — Capture oe Lexington — Mor- 
the Next Day is Defeated— Retreats 
from Kentucky — Death of Morgan — 
Subsequent Service of His Old Command 
gan Wins a Victory at Cynthiana — On 
— Battle of Bull's Gap — A Battle by 
Moonlight — The Stoneman Raid — Bat- 
tle of Marion — After Lee's Surrender — 
Escorts Jefferson Davis from Charlotte, 
N. C, to Washington, Ga. — Last Coun- 
cil of War — Surrender at Woodstock, 374 


Personality of General Morgan and His Qualities as a Com- 
mander — His Rapid Creation of an Efficient Cavalry Com- 
mand, and Discovery of new Uses for that Arm of the Ser- 

In undertaking to write the history of General Morgan's 
services and of the command which he created, it is but fair 
that I acknowledge myself influenced, in a great measure, 
by the feelings of the friend and the follower ; that I desire, 
if I can do so by relating facts, of most of which I am per- 
sonally cognizant, to perpetuate his fame, and at the same 
time establish the true character of a body of men who, re- 
cruited and inured to war by him, served bravely and faith- 
fully to the close of the great struggle. 

General Morgan's career during the late war was so re- 
markable that it is not surprising that the public, accustomed 
to the contradictory newspaper versions of his exploits, 
should be disposed to receive all accounts of it with some 
incredulity. It was so rapid, so crowded with exciting in- 
cidents, appealed so strongly to the passions and elicited 
so constantly the comments of both sides, that contemporary 
accounts of his operations were filled with mistakes and ex- 
aggerations, and it is natural that some should be expected 
in any history of his campaigns, although written after the 
strife is over. 

A narrative of the operations of a command composed, 
in great part, of Kentuckians, must possess some interest 
for the people of their own State. So general and intense 
was the interest which Morgan excited among the young 
men of the State that he obtained recruits from every 
county, numbers running every risk to join him when no 
other leader could enlist a man. The whole State was rep- 
resented in his command. Many Kentuckians who had en- 
listed in regiments from other States procured transfers to 


his command, and it frequently happened that men, the bulk 
of whose regiments were in prison, or who had become ir- 
regularly detached from them by some of the many acci- 
dents of which the volunteer, weary of monotony, is prompt 
to take advantage, would attach themselves to and serve 
temporarily with it. Probably every native citizen of Ken- 
tucky who will read these lines will think of some relative 
or friend who at some time served with Morgan. 

It is a prevalent opinion that his troops were totally un- 
disciplined and unaccustomed to the instruction and re- 
straint which form the soldier. They were, to be sure, far 
below the standard of regular troops in these respects, and 
doubtless they were inferior in many particulars of drill and 
organization to some carefully-trained bodies of cavalry, 
Confederate and Federal, which were less constantly and 
actively engaged in service on the front. But these essential 
requisites to efficiency were by no means neglected or in a 
great degree lacking. The utmost care was exercised in 
the organization of every regiment to place the best men in 
office. No opportunity was neglected to attain proficiency 
in the tactics which experience had induced us to adopt, and 
among officers and men there was a perfect appreciation of 
the necessity of strict subordination, prompt, unquestioning 
obedience to superiors, and an active, vigilant discharge of 
all the duties which devolve upon the soldier in the vicinity 
or presence of the enemy. 

I do not hesitate to say that "Morgan's Division," in its 
best days, would have lost nothing (in points of discipline 
and instruction) by comparison with any of the fine cavalry 
commands, which did constant service, of the Confederate 
army, and the testimony of more than one inspecting officer 
can be cited to that effect. More credit, too, has been given 
General Morgan for qualities and ability which constitute 
a successful partisan to lead a handful of men than for the 
very decided military talents which he possessed. 

An even cursory study of Morgan's record will convince 
the military reader that the character he bore with those who 
served with him was deserved. That, while circumspect and 


neglectful of no precaution to insure success or avert disas- 
ter, he was extremely bold in thought and action ; that using 
every means to obtain extensive and accurate information 
(attempting no enterprise of importance without it), and 
careful in the consideration of every contingency, he was yet 
marvelously quick to combine and to revolve, and so rapid 
and sudden in execution as frequently to confound both 
friends and enemies. And above all, once convinced, he 
never hesitated to act ; he would back his judgment against 
every hazard and with every resource at his command. 

Whatever merit be allowed or denied General Morgan, 
he is beyond all question entitled to the credit of having dis- 
covered uses for cavalry, or rather mounted infantry, to 
which that arm was never applied before. While other cav- 
alry officers were adhering to the traditions of former wars 
and the systems of the schools, however inapplicable to the 
demands of their day and the nature of the struggle, he 
originated and perfected, not only a system of tactics, a 
method of fighting and handling men in the presence of the 
enemy, but also a strategy as effective as it was novel. To- 
tally ignorant of the art of war as learned from the books 
and in the academies; an imitator in nothing; self taught 
in all that he knew and did, his success was not more marked 
than his genius. The creator and organizer of his own little 
army — with a force which at no time reached four thousand 
— he killed and wounded nearly as many of the enemy and 
captured more than fifteen thousand. The author of the far- 
reaching "raid," so different from the mere cavalry dash, he 
accomplished with his handful of men results which would 
otherwise have required armies and the costly preparations 
of regular and extensive campaigns. 

I shall endeavor to show the intimate connection between 
his operations and those of the main army in each depart- 
ment where he served, and the strategic importance of even 
his apparently rashest and most purposeless raids, when 
considered with reference to their bearing upon the grand 
campaigns of the West. When the means at his disposal, 
the difficulties with which he had to contend, and the results 


he effected, are well understood, it will be conceded that his 
reputation with the Southern soldiery was not undeserved, 
and that to rank with the best of the many active and excel- 
lent cavalry officers of the West, to have had, confessedly, 
no equal among them except in Forrest, argues him to have 
possessed no common ability. 

For the spirit in which it is written, I have only to say 
that I have striven to be candid and accurate; to that sort 
of impartiality which is acquired at the expense of a total 
divestiture of natural feeling I can lay no claim. 

A Southern man, once a Confederate soldier — always 
thoroughly Southern in sentiments and feeling — I can, of 
course, write only a Southern account of what I saw in the 
late war, and as such what is herein written must be re- 

John Hunt Morgan was born at Huntsville, Ala., on the 
ist day of June, 1825. His father, Calvin C. Morgan, was 
a native of Virginia. In early manhood Mr. Morgan fol- 
lowed the tide of emigration flowing from Virginia to the 
West and began life in Alabama. In 1823 he married the 
daughter of John W Hunt, of Lexington, Ky., one of the 
wealthiest and most successful men of the State, and one 
whose influence and efforts did much to develop the pros- 
perity of that part of it in which he resided. Mr. Morgan 
is described by all who knew him as a gentleman whom it 
was impossible to know and not to respect and esteem. His 
character was at once firm and attractive, but he possessed 
neither the robust constitution nor the adventurous and im- 
petuous spirit which characterized other members of his 
family. He was quiet and studious in his habits, and al- 
though fond of the society of his friends, shunned every 
kind of excitement. When failing health forced him to 
leave Alabama, he removed with his family to Kentucky 
and resided in Lexington for the remainder of his life. 
John H. Morgan's maternal grandfather, Mr Hunt, came 
to Kentucky from New Jersey. His family which was of 
old and excellent English stock, settled originally at New- 
ton, Long Island, of which place his ancestor, Ralph Hunt, 

John H. Morgan 

Lieutenant in the Mexican Wa 

facing 14 


was one of the founders. The General's mother, Mrs. Hen- 
rietta Hunt Morgan, was universally beloved. Exception- 
ally amiable and unselfish in disposition, she yet possessed 
very determined traits of character and positive convictions. 
Her son inherited from her those qualities which com- 
manded the perfect devotion of his followers. 

John H. Morgan was reared in Kentucky. When nine- 
teen years of age he enlisted for the Mexican War and was 
elected first lieutenant of Captain Perry Beard's company 
of Colonel Humphrey Marshall's regiment of Kentucky 
cavalry. His brother Calvin and his uncle Alexander G. 
Morgan were members of the same company. His uncle 
was killed at Buena Vista, in which battle Colonel Mar- 
shall's regiment was hotly engaged. Soon after his return 
home he married Miss Bruce, of Lexington, a sweet and 
lovely lady, who, almost from the day of her wedding, was 
a confirmed and patient invalid and sufferer. Immediately 
after his marriage, he entered energetically into business; 
was industrious, enterprising and prosperous, and at the 
breaking out of the war, in 1861, he was conducting in Lex- 
ington two successful manufactories. Every speculation 
and business enterprise in which he engaged succeeded, and 
he had acquired a very handsome property. This he left, 
when he went South, to the mercy of his enemies, making 
no provision whatever for its protection, and apparently 
caring not at all what became of it. 

The qualities in General Morgan which would have at- 
tracted most attention in private life were an exceeding gen- 
tleness of disposition and unbounded generosity. His kind- 
ness and goodness of heart were proverbial. His manner, 
even after he had become accustomed to command, was 
gentle and kind, and no doubt greatly contributed to acquire 
him the singular popularity which he enjoyed long before 
he had made his military reputation. The strong will and 
energy which he always displayed might not have elicited 
much notice had not the circumstances in which the war 
placed him developed and given them scope for exercise. 
But his affection for the members of his family and his 

1 6 morgan's cavalry. 

friends, the generosity which prompted him to consult their 
wishes at the expense of any sacrifice of his own, his sensi- 
tive regard for the feelings of others, even of those in whom 
he felt least interest, and his rare charity for the failings of 
the weak, made up a character which, even without an un- 
common destiny, would have been illustrious. 

His benevolence was so well known in Lexington that to 
"go to Captain Morgan" was the first thought of every one 
who wished to inaugurate a charitable enterprise, and his 
business house was a rendezvous for all the distressed and a 
sort of "intelligence office" for the poor seeking employ- 
ment. His temper was cheerful and frequently gay; no 
man more relished pleasantry and mirth in the society of his 
friends, with whom his manner was free and even at times 
jovial. There was never a more sanguine man; with him 
to live was to hope and to dare. Yet while rarely feeling 
despondency and never despair, he did not deceive himself 
with false or impossible expectations. He was quick to per- 
ceive the real and the practical, and while enterprising in the 
extreme he was not in the least visionary. His nerve, his 
powers of discrimination, the readiness with which he could 
surrender schemes found to be impracticable, if by chance 
he became involved in them, and his energy and close atten- 
tion to his affairs, made him very successful in business, and 
undoubtedly the same qualities, intensified by the demand 
that war made upon them, contributed greatly to his mili- 
tary success. 

He could, with more accuracy than any one, divine the 
plans and wishes of an enemy. This was universally re- 
marked, and he exhibited it, not only in correctly surmising 
the intentions of his own immediate opponents, but also in 
the opinions which he gave regarding the movements of the 
grand armies. He sought all the information which could, 
however remotely, affect his interests and designs with un- 
tiring avidity, and the novel and ingenious expedients he 
sometimes resorted to in order to obtain it would perhaps 
furnish materials for the most interesting chapter of his his- 


He had another faculty which is very essential to military 
success ; indispensably necessary, at any rate, to a cavalry 
commander who acts independently and at such distances 
from any base or support as he almost constantly did. I be- 
lieve the English term it having "a good eye for a coun- 
try." It is the faculty of rapidly acquiring a correct idea of 
the nature and peculiar features of any country in which mil- 
itary operations are to be conducted. He neglected nothing 
that a close study of maps and careful inquiry could furnish 
of this sort of knowledge, but after a brief investigation or 
experience, he generally had a better understanding of the 
subject than either map-makers or natives could give him. 

However imperfect might be .his acquaintance with a 
country, it was nearly impossible for a guide to deceive him. 
What he had once learned in this respect he never forgot. 
A road once traveled was always afterward familiar to him, 
with distances, localities and the adjacent country. Thus, 
always having in his mind a perfect idea of the region where 
he principally operated, he could move with as much facility 
and confidence (when there) without maps and guides as 
with them. 

His favorite strategy on his important expeditions or 
"raids" was to place himself by long and swift marches — 
moving sometimes for days and nights without a halt except 
to feed the horses — in the very heart of the territory where 
were the objects of his enterprise. He relied upon this 
method to confuse if not to surprise his enemy, and prevent 
a concentration of his forces. He would then strike right 
and left. He rarely declined upon such expeditions to fight 
when advancing, for it was his theory that then a concentra- 
tion of superior forces against him was more difficult, and 
that the vigor of his enemy was to a certain extent paralyzed 
by the celerity of his own movements and the mystery which 
involved them. But after commencing his retreat, he would 
use every effort and strategem to avoid battle, fearing that 
while fighting one enemy others might overtake him, and 
believing that at such times the morale of his own troops 
was somewhat impaired. No leader could make more skill- 

1 8 morgan's cavalry. 

ful use of detachments. He would throw them out to great 
distances, even when surrounded by superior and active 
forces, and yet rarely was one of them (commanded by a 
competent officer who obeyed instructions) overwhelmed or 
cut off. It very seldom happened that they failed to accom- 
plish the purposes for which they were dispatched, or to re- 
join the main body in time to assist in decisive action. He 
could widely separate and apparently scatter his forces and 
yet maintain such a disposition of them as to have all well 
in hand. When pushing into the enemy's lines he would 
send these detachments in every direction, until it was im- 
possible to conjecture his real intentions — causing, gener- 
ally, the shifting of troops from point to point as each was 
threatened, until the one he wished to attack was weakened, 
when he would strike at it like lightning. 

He knew how to thoroughly confuse and deceive an 
enemy, and induce in him (as he desired) false confidence 
or undue caution , how to isolate and persuade or compel 
him to surrender without giving battle; and he could 
usually manage, although inferior to the aggregate of the 
hostile forces around him, to be stronger or as strong at the 
point and moment of encounter. 

He seldom failed to discern and to take advantage of the 
ruling characteristics of those who approached him, and he 
could subsidize the knowledge and talents of other men with 
rare skill. He especially excelled in judging men collect- 
ively. He knew exactly how to appeal to the feelings of his 
men, to excite their enthusiasm, and stimulate them to dare 
any danger and endure any fatigue and hardship. But he 
sometimes committed the gravest errors in his estimation of 
individual character. 

General Morgan had more of those personal qualities 
which make a man's friends devoted to him than any one I 
have ever known. He was himself very warm and constant 
in the friendships which he formed. It seemed impossible 
for him to do enough for those to whom he was attached, 
or to ever give them up. His manner, when he wished, pre- 
possessed every one in his favor. He was generally more 


courteous and attentive to his inferiors than to his equals 
and superiors. This may have proceeded in a great measure 
from his jealousy of dictation and impatience of restraint, 
but was the result also of warm and generous feeling. His 
greatest faults arose out of his kindness and easiness of dis- 
position, which rendered it impossible for him to say or do 
unpleasant things, unless when under the influence of strong 
prejudice or resentment. This temperament made him a too 
lax disciplinarian, and caused him to be frequently imposed 
upon. He was exceedingly and unfeignedly modest. For 
a long time he sought, in every way, to avoid the applause 
and ovations which met him everywhere in the South, and 
he never learned to keep a bold countenance when receiving 

His personal appearance and carriage were striking and 
graceful. His features were eminently handsome and 
adapted to the most pleasing expressions. His eyes were 
small, of a grayish blue color, and their glances keen and 
thoughtful. His figure on foot or on horseback was superb. 
He was exactly six feet in height, and although not at all 
corpulent, weighed one hundred and eighty-five pounds. His 
form was perfect and the rarest combination of strength, 
activity, and grace. His constitution seemed impervious to 
the effects of privation and exposure, and it was scarcely 
possible to perceive that he suffered from fatigue or lack of 

Men are not often born who can wield such an influence 
as he exerted, apparently without an effort ; who can so win 
men's hearts and stir their blood. He will, at least, be re- 
membered until the Western cavalrymen and their children 
have all died. The bold riders who live in the border-land, 
whose every acre he made historic, will leave many a story 
of his audacity and wily skill. 


Political Sentiment and Conditions in Kentucky in 1861— Why 
She Failed to Secede — Military Situation in the West — Con- 
federate Occupation of Bowling Green — Organization and 
Equipment of Confederate Troops at that Date— Their Mili- 
tary Characteristics. 

The position assumed by Kentucky at the inception of 
the great struggle, and her conduct throughout it, excited 
the surprise and, in no small degree, incurred the ill-will of 
both the contending parties. But while both North and 
South, at some time, doubted her good faith and complained 
of her action, such sentiment has been forgotten by the lat- 
ter ami became intensified into undisguised animosity upon 
the part of a large share of the population of the former 

The reason is patent. It is the same which induced the 
Confederates to hope confidently for substantial assistance 
from Kentucky, if once enabled to obtain foothold upon her 
territory ; and caused the Federals, on the other hand, to re- 
gard even the loudest and most zealous professors of loy- 
alty as Secessionists in disguise, or at best Unionists only to 
save their property It is the instinctive feeling that the 
people of Kentucky, on account of kindred blood, common 
interests and identity of ideas in all that relates to political 
rights and objects of political institutions, might be supposed 
likely to sympathize and act with the people of the South. 

A number of causes and influences combined to prevent 
Kentucky from taking a decided and consistent stand with 
either of the combatants, and produced the vacillation 
which so notably characterized her councils and paralyzed 
her efforts in either direction. Her geographical situation, 
presenting a frontier of several hundreds of miles to an as- 
sailant coming from either the North or South, caused her 
people grave apprehension, especially as it was accounted 
an absolute certainty that her territory, if she sided with the 

morgan's CAVALRY. 21 

South, would be made the battleground and subjected to all 
the horrors and desolations of war. This feeling became 
stronger and more controlling because of the apparent in- 
certitude of some of the Southern States, and their delay 
and seeming hesitation to enter the Confederacy. The po- 
litical education of the Kentuckians, also, disposed them to 
enter upon such a contest with extreme reluctance. Origin- 
ally a part of Virginia and chiefly settled by immigration 
from that State, her earlier population partook of the char- 
acteristics and were imbued with the sentiments which so 
strongly prevailed in the mother Commonwealth. 

From Virginia the first generation of Kentucky statesmen 
derived the opinions which became the political creed of the 
people of the South, and were formulated in the famous 
resolutions of '98, giving shape and consistency to the doc- 
trine of States' rights and popular expression to that con- 
struction of the relation of the several States to the General 
Government, under the Federal Constitution, so earnestly 
insisted on by the master minds of Virginia. The earlier 
population of Kentucky was peculiarly inclined to adopt and 
cherish such opinions by the promptings of that nature 
which seems common to all men descended from the stock 
of the "Old Dominion;" that craving for the largest indi- 
vidual independence, and disposition to assert and maintain 
in full measure every personal right, which has always made 
the Southern and Western States so jealous of alien inter- 
ference with their local affairs. It was natural that a people 
animated by such a spirit should push their preference for 
self-government even to extremes ; that they should esteem 
their most valued franchises safe only when entirely under 
their own custody and control; that they should insist that 
their peculiar institutions should be submitted only to do- 
mestic regulation, and that the personal liberty, valued above 
all other possessions, should be restrained only by laws en- 
acted by legislators and executed by magistrates chosen 
among themselves, and identified with and appreciative of 
their interests. In short, they were strongly attached to 


their State government, and were not inclined to regard as 
beneficent or even legitimate any interference with it upon 
the part of the General Government, whose power and in- 
fluence they wished restricted to matters pertaining only to 
the "common defence and general welfare." 

This decided and almost universal sentiment was first 
shaken and the opinions of the Kentuckians in this regard 
underwent a certain change about the time of and doubtless 
as a consequence of the Burr conspiracy; but the serious 
change in such political faith was wrought by Henry Clay 
He taught his generation to love the "Union" not as an 
"agency" by means of which certain benefits were to be de- 
rived, but as an "end" to be adhered to no matter what re- 
sults might follow. Mr. Clay sincerely believed that in the 
union of the States was to be found the surest guarantee of 
the safety, honor, and prosperity of them all, and he contem- 
plated with horror any thought of its dissolution. 

But notwithstanding this divergence of opinion between 
the people of Kentucky and their brethren in Virginia and 
the Southern States, the ties of blood and interest grew 
stronger : and, in the stormy period just antedating the 
Civil War a very general and positive sympathy with the 
Southern view of the questions in controversy was mani- 
fested. The troubles in Kansas and the agitation in Con- 
gress made the Democratic party in the State more deter- 
mined and aggressive in this respect, and the John Brown 
affair exasperated her people, in common with those of 
every slave-holding community, and induced the organiza- 
tion of the State Guard. Created because of the belief that 
similar attempts would be repeated, and quite probably Ken- 
tucky would be a field of future operation, it is not to be 
wondered at that the State Guard should have expected an 
enemy only from the North, whence, alone, could come such 
aggressions, and that it should have conceived an antagon- 
ism to the Northern and a sympathy for the Southern cause. 
These sentiments were intensified by the tone of the North- 
ern press and pulpit, and the commendation of such enter- 


prises as the Harper's Ferry raid which were heard through- 
out the North. 

The difficulty which was felt to be insuperable by all who 
advocated the secession of Kentucky was her isolated posi- 
tion. Not only, as has been already suggested, did the long 
hesitation of Virginia and Tennessee effectually abate the 
ardor and resolution of the Kentuckians who desired to see 
their State united with the Southern Confederacy, but, while 
it lasted, it was an insurmountable physical barrier in the 
way of such an undertaking. With these States antagonis- 
tic to the Southern movement, it would have been madness 
in Kentucky to have attempted to join it. When at length 
Virginia and Tennessee passed ordinances of secession, Ken- 
tucky had become infatuated with the idea of "neutrality." 
With the leaders of the Union party, this policy had already 
been determined upon as part of their system for the educa- 
tion of the people to loyalty. The Southern element, which 
was without organization or recognized leaders, regarded it 
as something much better than unconditional obedience to 
the orders and coercive policy of the Federal Government; 
and the large class of the timid and irresolute, the men who 
are by nature neutral in times of trouble and danger, accept- 
ed it joyfully, as such men always accept a compromise 
which promises to relieve them of immediate responsibility 
and the necessity of hazardous decision. 

Disconnected from the views and purposes of those who 
consented to it, this "neutrality" will scarcely admit of seri- 
ous discussion. Such a position is certainly little else than 
rebellion, and the principle or conditions which justified it 
will also justify secession. If a State has the legal or con- 
stitutional right to refuse compliance with the requisitions 
of the General Government, to disobey the laws enacted by 
Congress and set at defiance the proclamations of the Na- 
tional Executive, to decide for herself her proper policy in 
periods of war and insurrection and levy armed forces to 
prevent the occupation of her territory by the troops of the 
United States, then she has the right to withdraw from the 
Union when she chooses to do so and contract any alliance 


in accordance with her wishes. If it be a revolutionary 
right, which she may justly exercise under certain condi- 
tions, the same conditions will justify any other phase or 
manner of revolution. 

The practical result of such a position, had it been stub- 
bornly maintained, would have been to involve Kentucky 
in more danger than she would have incurred by secession 
and admission into the Confederacy. A declaration of neu- 
trality in such a contest was virtually equivalent to a decla- 
ration of war against both sides ; at any rate it was a proc- 
lamation of opposition to the Federal Government, while 
discarding the friendship of the South, and seemed to at 
once invite assault from both. The Government of the 
United States, which was arming to coerce the States which 
had seceded, would certainly not permit its purpose to be 
frustrated by any such attitude on the part of Kentucky, and 
it was not at all likely that the States about to be attacked 
would respect a neutrality which they knew would prove no 
hindrance to their adversary. But few men reason clearly 
in periods of great excitement, or in situations of peril look 
steadfastly and intelligently at the dangers which surround 

As has been said, a large class eagerly welcomed the 
idea that Kentucky should take no part in the great struggle 
impending, as a relief, however temporary, from a hazard 
which appalled them. Nine men out of ten will shrink from 
making up their minds upon a difficult and dangerous issue, 
and will yet accept gladly, from any one who has the nerve 
to urge it, a determination however paltry and inconclusive. 
A great many Union men, who would have earnestly op- 
posed Kentucky's concurrence in the action of the seceding 
States, and yet as obstinately opposed the policy of coercion 
by the Government, thought that they saw in "neutrality" 
a solution of all the difficulties which embarrassed them. A 
few of the more sagacious and resolute of the Union leaders, 
who were not, perhaps, incommoded by a devotion to their 
State or "flag," but who realized that they could get into 
power only by crushing the Democratic party, and knew 

morgan's cavalry. 25 

that if Kentucky sided with the South, the Democratic ele- 
ment in the State would inevitably dominate, perceived in 
this policy of neutrality a means of holding Kentucky in- 
active until the Federal Government could prepare and pour 
into her territory an overwhelming force. They trusted, 
and as the sequel showed, with reason, that they could de- 
moralize their opponents, having once reduced them to in- 

On the other hand, the Kentuckians, who hoped that their 
State would become part of the Confederacy, but saw no 
immediate prospect of it, accepted neutrality as the best that 
could be done under the circumstances. They knew that if 
this neutrality should be respected, a vital portion of the 
Confederacy — a border of five hundred miles — would be pro- 
tected from attack and invasion , that the forces of the Con- 
federacy could be the more readily concentrated for the de- 
fense of the other and threatened lines, and that individual 
Kentuckians could flock to the Southern armies. They be- 
lieved that, in such a contingency, Kentucky would furnish 
more men to the Confederacy than would enlist in the Fed- 
eral service. 

The result justified the hopes and calculations of the more 
astute of the Union leaders. A movement so essentially rev- 
olutionary as the attempt to protect a State, situated as was 
Kentucky, into the current of secession, depended for success 
upon unflagging enthusiasm and prompt, rapid, decisive 
action. Any convention or policy in the nature of a com- 
promise impaired, and delay or relaxation of effort de- 
stroyed, its chances of success. The farce of "neutrality" 
was maintained, with apparent sincerity, until the uncondi- 
tional Union men had procured arms for the Home Guard 
companies, which had been organized, and recruited in Ken- 
tucky for the Federal army. Then the mask was thrown off. 
Formal legislative notice was served that, while enlistments 
in the service of the United States would be permitted, severe 
punishment would be visited on "any person who shall," 
within the limits of the State, persuade or induce any one to 
enlist or take service in the army of the so-called Confeder- 

26 morgan's cavalry. 

ate States ;" and by "an act to enlarge the powers of the 
military board of this State," the State Guard was disarmed 
and virtually disbanded. Thenceforth, and until the close of 
the war, Kentucky was completely in the grasp of the Fed- 
eral power. 

When General Albert Sidney Johnston came to the com- 
mand of the great Western Department he found but a few 
thousand troops at his disposal to defend a territory of im- 
mense extent, and vulnerable at a hundred points. 

At that time the Trans-Mississippi Confederate States 
were included in the same department with the States of 
Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi. Missouri on the 
western side of the Mississippi, and Kentucky on the eastern 
— respectively the northernmost of the Western and Middle 
slaveholding States — were debatable ground, and were al- 
ready occupied, the former by both, the latter by one of the 
contending forces. 

General Johnston assumed command about the latter part 
of August, or first of September, 1861, and at once com- 
menced his vast labor with a vigor and wisdom which were 
neither appreciated by his countrymen nor were fruitful of 
happy results until after his glorious death. Missouri some 
months previously had become the theater of military opera- 
tions. The people had partially responded to the proclama- 
tion of Governor Jackson, issued June 12, 1861, which 
called on them to resist the military authorities appointed in 
the State by President Lincoln. 

Up to the date of General Johnston's taking command 
the chief difficulty in the way of action and decisive opera- 
tions in the West (independently of the inferior number and 
miserable equipment of the troops) was the lack of uniform- 
ity and concert in the plans and operations of the various 
commanders. There was no one in supreme military con- 
trol from whom the subordinate generals could receive defi- 
nite instructions, and orders which they felt obliged to obey. 
While an immense extent of country was included in one 
department, and theoretically under one chief, yet practically 
every officer, no matter what was the strength or nature of 

morgan's cavalry. 27 

his command, who happened not to be troubled with a senior 
immediately at his elbow, planned and acted for himself and 
with a perfect indifference to the operations of every one 
else. The President and Secretary of War were too dis- 
tant to do any good, if such interference ever does any good, 
and a ruling mind was needed at the theater of events. It 
is true that General Polk, whose headquarters were at Mem- 
phis, was senior to the others, he being a major-general, and 
all the rest but brigadiers, and he was ostensibly in chief 
command and directed to a certain extent the movements of 
all. But, whether it was that, in a period when nothing 
was fairly organized, his authority was not clearly defined, 
or that he felt some hesitation in vigorously exercising it, 
it is certain that each of the generals, who have been here 
mentioned, acted as if he knew himself to be, to all intents 
and purposes, in independent command. 

This evil was completely remedied by the appointment to 
the chief command in the West of General Johnston, and 
the prompt and decided measures which he instituted. Gen- 
eral Johnston's whole life had been one of the most thorough 
military training, and no officer of his years in the old army 
of the United States had seen more service; but more than 
that, he was a soldier by instinct, and Nature had intended 
him for military command. 

Almost immediately after his arrival at Nashville the 
troops which had collected at Camp Boone, the rendezvous 
of the Kentucky regiments, and the Tennessee troops which 
were available, were pushed into Kentucky. Kentucky's 
neutrality, for a time recognized provisionally, and so far as 
a discreet silence upon the subject amounted to recognition 
by the Federal Government, had already been exploded. 
The Government of the United States, having made the 
necessary preparations, was not disposed to abandon a line 
of invasion which led right to the vitals of the Confederacy, 
and promised a successful reduction of the rebellion in at 
least three of the seceded States, because of the partially re- 
bellious attitude assumed by Kentucky. 

Camp Dick Robinson had been organized and put into 

28 morgan's cavalry. 

successful operation in July. General Anderson took com- 
mand at Louisville on the 20th of September. The other 
portions of the State were occupied, and definite lines were 
established by the opposing forces, nearly about the same 
time. General Johnston advanced as far as Green river, 
making it his line of defense for his center, while his right 
rested on the Cumberland and the rugged ranges of its hills. 
His line might be said to extend from Columbus through 
Hopkinsville, Munfordsville and Somerset to the Virginia 
border somewhere in the vicinity of Pound Gap. The Fed- 
eral forces were pushed down, almost simultaneously with 
General Johnston's advance to Green river, to Elizabeth- 
town, and in a few days afterward to Nolin creek. Their 
line may be described as running almost directly from Pa- 
ducah in the west to Prestonburg in the east. This line 
gave them possession of the mouths of the Tennessee, Cum- 
berland and Green rivers, of the Blue Grass region, and of 
a greater share of the central and eastern portions of the 

A single glance at a map will show the importance of 
Bowling Green as a strategic point. It will be seen that it 
is admirably adapted for a base of operations, offensive or 
defensive, in such a campaign as General Johnston was 
about to inaugurate at the time of its occupation. Situated 
upon the bank of the Barren river, it has that river and the 
Green river to protect it against attack from the front. The 
Barren river empties into the Green some twenty miles from 
and northwest of Bowling Green, and the Green, flowing in 
a northwesterly direction, affords an admirable line of de- 
fense for many miles to the left. There are few fords and 
ferries of Green river after its junction with the Barren, 
and those which it has can be easily held. The danger of 
attack from the extreme left flank was guarded against, but, 
as the result showed, imperfectly, by Forts Henry and Don- 
elson, constructed respectively upon the Tennessee and Cum- 
berland rivers, — the one just upon, the other about ten 
miles from, the Kentucky and Tennessee border. As there 
was little danger to be apprehended in that direction, except 


plitMij Situation 


Kentucky and Tennessee, 
Hew Madrid i861. 



from forces brought up those rivers and established in the 
rear of Bowling Green, these forts, whose strength was 
overrated, were thought to sufficiently protect that flank. 

In this advance into Kentucky, the Kentucky regiments 
under Buckner, about thirteen hundred strong in all, took 
the lead; the Second Kentucky Infantry, under Colonel 
Roger W Hanson, to which were temporarily attached 
Byrne's battery of four pieces, and one company of Tennes- 
see cavalry, was pushed on to Munfordsville on Green river. 
The rest of the Kentuckians and two or three thousand 
Tennesseeans (and some odds and ends) were stopped at 
Bowling Green. 

All the cavalry which were available for that purpose 
were sent to scout the country between the Cumberland and 
Green rivers, and subsequently Forrest's regiment was sta- 
tioned at Hopkinsville, watching the country in that vicin- 
ity. Shortly after he was sent there Forrest attacked and 
defeated at Sacramento, a little village not far from Hop- 
kinsville, a regiment of Federal cavalry. This was the first 
cavalry fight in the west, and the Federals were completely 

Zollicoffer was sent to take position at Monticello, at or 
nearly about the same time of the advance to Bowling Green. 
Thus, it will be seen, that all the important points of the 
line were almost simultaneously occupied. 

Columbus was occupied by General Polk on the 4th, some 
days earlier. 

In establishing his base at Bowling Green General Johns- 
ton secured, as has been shown, a line well adapted to enable 
him to assume the offensive so soon as his army was suffi- 
ciently strong to do so with effect. The very fact of his 
moving into Kentucky at all was a pledge and guarantee to 
the people of his department, that, if sustained by them, he 
would keep the war out of their territory, and encouraged 
his army to hope for an active, dashing campaign. He 
placed himself where the more enterprising and determined 
of the Kentucky rebels could join him, and he spared no 
effort, no appeal, which could stimulate enlistment in his 


army among the young men of Kentucky or of the States of 
his department. 

The condition of the Confederate troops was far better, 
in many respects, at this time than at any subsequent period 
of the war. There were, then, facilities and means for pro- 
viding them with necessaries and comforts which more lat- 
terly did not exist. Provisions were abundant everywhere, 
and were regularly supplied. The railroads, which were 
then all in good repair and well provided with rolling stock, 
afforded sure means of supplying the troops which were 
stationed in those parts of the country through which they 
ran. The numerous navigable streams also afforded facili- 
ties, and practically shortened the routes of supply. 

In all cases, however, in which neither the railways nor 
the rivers could be used to supply them, troops were com- 
pelled to depend for subsistence, in a great measure, upon 
the country immediately about their cantonments, and as 
they exhausted the surplus provisions in different neighbor- 
hoods, they would shift their encampments. This was ow- 
ing to the great lack of wheel transportation. It was very 
difficult to procure wagons, except by purchase or impress- 
ment from the citizens, and the latter w r ere of course 
inferior. Much less inconvenience was subsequently expe- 
rienced on this score, after they began to be manufactured in 
the Confederacy, and were captured in great numbers from 
the enemy. At this time many articles, such as sugar, coffee, 
etc., indispensable to the comfort and conducive to the 
health of troops in the field, were plentifully furnished; 
after the first year of the war they were known among us 
only by camp-fire traditions. The men rarely suffered, 
then, from the want of clothing, blankets, shoes, etc., even 
when the quartermasters could not furnish them, for they 
could obtain them from home, or purchase them, wherever 
they happened to be quartered, at reasonable prices. There 
was, perhaps, no regiment in the army which had not its full 
complement of tents, they were manufactured at Memphis 
and other points in numbers adequate to the wants of all the 
troops. Cooking utensils, also, could be had in abundance 


— the marching commands suffered, not from the want of 
them, but from the lack of transportation for them. It is 
true that those which were furnished us were not of the kind 
and pattern which experience has prescribed as most fitting 
for military use, but they were capital substitutes for flat 
stones and forked twigs. 

In the medical department there was almost total lack of 
the necessary material. The supply of medicines in the 
South at the outbreak of the war was barely sufficient for 
the wants of the population at that time. Some medicines 
were run through the blockade from the North, in small 
quantities, during the spring and summer of 1861. But the 
supply thus obtained by no means met the demand. The 
volunteers collected together in camps and crowded canton- 
ments, subjected to a sudden change of diet and mode of 
living, sickened in great numbers. Diseases which had 
never before, or but in rare instances, proven dangerous, 
now assumed alarming types. The systems of the patients 
may have been relaxed and their vitality partially impaired 
during the early period of camp life, when they were just 
foregoing their old habits and were not yet hardened to the 
new, or it may be that when men are congregated in great 
numbers, certain diseases, by transmission from one to an- 
other, are cultivated into extraordinary malignancy — at 
any rate a large proportion of the inmates of every camp 
sickened and many died. At Bowling Green in the winter 
of 1861 and 1862, the mortality was dreadful; measles, 
typhoid fever, pneumonia and diseases of the bowels carried 
off a host of victims. Every sickness, however, seemed 
fatal at that time. 

There was, consequently, a great and constantly increas- 
ing need of medicines; and, perhaps, some waste of them 
when they were collected in large quantities and shipped 
from point to point was unavoidable. But all these prob- 
lems, all the difficulties of properly supplying the army, 
began to be solved and modified, as the genius of adaptation 
and substitution was developed among the troops them- 
selves. If a man could not get a blanket he made an old car- 


pet, cut to the proper size and lined on one side with a piece 
of strong cotton cloth, serve him instead. The soldier who 
lacked shoes bid defiance to the rough roads, or the weather, 
in a pair of ox-hide buskins, or with complicated wrappings 
of rags about his feet. I have known more than one or- 
derly sergeant make out his morning report upon a shingle, 
and the surgeon who lacked a tourniquet used a twisted 
handkerchief. Of the most necessary military material, 
arms and ordnance stores, there was the greatest scarcity. 
Perhaps one-half of the entire western army (of all the 
troops in the department) were armed (at the time that 
General Johnston came) with shot-guns and squirrel rifles, 
and the majority of the other half with scarcely as service- 
able flint-lock muskets. 

The troops under General Bragg at Pensacola were per- 
haps better armed, but the rule held good with regard to the 
others. A few companies composed of young men from 
the cities, and of rich planters, were armed with fancy guns, 
Maynard rifles, etc., altogether unsuitable for the armament 
of infantry. In September of 1861 there were probably 
not one thousand Springfield and Enfield rifles in the army 
which General Johnston was trying to concentrate in Ken- 
tucky, and it was several months later before these unequaled 
weapons (the right arms for soldiers who mean to fight) 
could be supplied in numbers at all adequate to the need of 
them. In the advance to Bowling Green more than three 
hundred able-bodied men of the Second Kentucky and an 
equal if not greater number of the Third Kentucky were left 
in the rear because arms could not be gotten for them. In 
November one or two regiments of the Kentucky brigade 
were given the Belgian in place of the flint-lock musket, and 
in December flint-lock guns, altered to percussion locks, 
were given the other regiments of the brigade. Proper ac- 
coutrements were as scarce as guns. Cartridge-boxes, 
knapsacks, canteens, when they could be gotten at all, were 
very inferior. By great industry and effort a considerable 
quantity of ammunition had been prepared and worked up 
into cartridges, but there was such a scarcity of lead and 

morgan's cavalry. 33 

powder in the South and such inferior facilities for the man- 
ufacture of the latter, that apprehension was felt lest, when 
the supply on hand was exhausted, it could not be replaced. 

There was scarcely a percussion cap to be had (in the early 
part of the war) in the department, with the exception of 
some that were manufactured by an enterprising citizen of 
Nashville, and zealous Confederate, Mr. S. D. Morgan, an 
uncle of the General. But while so few of the Confederate 
soldiers were efficiently armed, almost every man of them, 
presuming that the Yankees were to be whipped in rough 
and tumble style, had his bowie-knife and revolver. The 
Arkansas and Texas troops, especially, carried enormous 
knives, that might have made a Malay's blood run cold, but 
in the end those huge weapons did duty far oftener as cleav- 
ers than as bayonets. The organization of the troops first 
put in the field was, of course, to some extent, imperfect. 

A good deal has been said about the evils of the system of 
electing officers, and much just censure has been passed upon 
it. It has been claimed that it gives rise to a laxity of disci- 
pline, and a disposition on the part of officers, who owe their 
positions to the suffrages of the men they command, to wink 
at irregularities and pardon gross neglect of duty. 

This is undoubtedly true, in a great measure, and what is 
stranger, but equally as true, is the fact that troops which 
have been longest in the service, which know best what qual- 
ities are necessary to constitute a good officer, which appre- 
ciate perfectly the necessity of having good officers, not only 
to their efficiency and success in the field, but to their well- 
being at all times, seem least able to resist the temptation 
of electing some good-natured fellow, whom they will never 
respect, and will, perhaps, grow ashamed of, rather than men 
who will enforce their obedience, but promote alike their effi- 
ciency and their comfort. At all times they will look to and 
rely upon the good officer, but when they come to elect, 
the love of doing as they please, unchecked by the irksome 
restraints of discipline, is apt to make them vote for the man 
who will indulge them. But I believe that all those who ob- 

34 morgan's cavalry. 

served these matters carefully will agree that there was far 
less of this sort of feeling among the men who volunteered 
at the outbreak of the war than there was later. 

The officers elected by the regiments first raised were, gen- 
erally, about the best men that could have been selected. 
The men, at that time, in good faith, chose those they be- 
lieved best qualified for the duties of command, and elected 
individuals who had manifested, or were thought to possess, 
courage, energy, and good sense. Of course some mistakes 
were made, and experience disclosed the fact, now well-es- 
tablished, that many men who figure respectably in times 
of peace are unfitted for military responsibility, and weaken 
in the ordeal of military life. 

No opportunity had been afforded them for testing and 
discovering those qualified for positions of trust and impor- 
tance — it was all a matter of experiment. Many injudicious 
selections were made, but it quite as often happened that the 
appointing system (as it was exercised at the beginning ol 
the war) gave incompetent officers to the army. The grad- 
uates of West Point themselves, and even those officers who 
had served for years in the "Old Army," knew little or noth- 
ing of actual war 

While the regulations prescribed clear and excellent rules 
of organization, the strictest conformity was not always 
had to them, and it was sometimes difficult to strictly apply 
them. Companies sometimes overran the maximum in a 
way that rendered them as embarrassing to the regiments in 
which they were placed as they were painfully unwieldy to 
the unlearned captains and lieutenants who immediately 
commanded them. 

When it was known that a very popular man was recruit- 
ing, the number of enlistments in his company was limited 
only by the number of able-bodied men in his district who 
were inclined to enlist. As each volunteer had the right to 
select his captain and company, and generally objected very 
decidedly to being transferred to any other, it was a delicate 
and difficult task to reduce these overgrown companies to 
proper proportions. Regiments frequently, on account of 

morgan's cavalry. 35 

the popularity of their colonels, or from other causes, swelled 
out of due bounds also. I knew one regiment which in the 
early part of September, 1861, had in it seventeen companies 
and numbered, when all answered to roll call, more than two 
thousand men. 

The brigades were from three to seven or eight thousand 
strong, and all arms of the service were represented in them ; 
they included regiments of infantry and cavalry and bat- 
teries of artillery. It was in a measure necessary that this 
organization should be adopted, from the fact that, for some 
months, each brigade commander was entrusted with super- 
vision and defense of a large tract of territory, and it was 
impossible to dispense with either of the three arms. Divis- 
ions were not organized until late in the fall of 1861 — the 
strength of the brigades was then, to some extent, equalized 
by the reduction of the larger ones ; army corps were of still 
later creation. 

A significant custom prevailed of denoting the companies 
of the first regiments which were raised, not by letter, but by 
some company denomination which they had borne in the 
militia organization, or had assumed as soon as mustered as 
an indispensable nom-de-guerre. They seemed to vie with 
each other in inventing titles of thrilling interest : "The Yel- 
low Jackets," "The Dead Shots," "The Earthquakes," "The 
Chickasaha Desperadoes," "The Hell-roarers," are a few 
which made the newspapers of that day, in recording their 
movements, read like the pages of popular romance. So 
fondly did the professors of these appellations cling to them 
that it was found almost as difficult to compel their exchange 
for the proper designations as to effect far more harassing 
and laborious reforms. The spirit which prompted these 
particular organizations to adopt this method of distinguish- 
ing and identifying themselves remained to the last charac- 
teristic of the Southern troops. Regiments, especially in the 
cavalry service, were quite as often styled by the names of 
their commanders as by the numbers which they properly 
bore, and, if the commanders were popular, the former 
method was always the most agreeable. 

36 morgan's cavalry. 

In the latter part of the war, after every effort had been 
made to do away with this feeling, it was at length adjudged 
expedient to enjoin such a designation of brigades, by the 
names of their commanders, by order from the War Depart- 
ment. This peculiar affectation was but one form in which 
the temper of the Southern people was manifested — a temper 
which revolted against complete loss of individuality, and 
was prone to self-assertion. It is a temper which ought to 
be characteristic of a free and high-spirited people, which, 
while for prudential reasons it will consent to severe re- 
straints, seeks to mark the fact that the restraint is self-im- 
posed. Few will doubt, upon reflection, that this feeling 
could have been turned to better account in the Southern 
army; that to have allowed commands to win distinctive 
and honorable appellations by extraordinary bravery would 
have elevated the standard of morale as much as did promo- 
tion for personal gallantry and good conduct. The excel- 
lence of a command mentioned in general orders might be 
only partially known, but the fame conferred by the title of 
the "Stonewall Brigade" is universal. 

For the first year there was, in the true sense of the word, 
no discipline in the Western army at all. The good sense 
and strong feeling of duty which pervaded the entire sol- 
diery made them obedient, zealous, and tolerably patient. 
High courage and natural resolution made them fight well 
from the first, and long exposure to the storms of battle 
taught them coolness in the midst of danger, and the com- 
parative indifference to it, which become habitual with the 
veteran, and which are usually confounded with the effects 
of discipline, although they frequently exist where discipline 
has never obtained. A spirit of emulation induced them 
to readily learn the drill and all the more ostentatious duties 
of the soldier. A fortitude which, until they were put to the 
test, they were not themselves aware of, enabled them to en- 
dure, without diminution of spirit, great hardship and priva- 
tion. Pride and patriotism, in the midst of every suffering 
and temptation, kept them true and patient to the last. 

No man who has intimately known the Southern soldiery 

morgan's cavalry. 37 

can escape the conviction, that, while capable of acquiring 
any degree of instruction, and, if the word may be used, 
veteranship, they can not be readily disciplined, if by disci- 
pline be meant the conversion by fear of punishment into un- 
reasoning machines. The personal character, prowess and 
reputation of the commander affected more than anything 
else the morale and efficiency of each command. 

It will be well for those who read Southern histories of 
the war to keep in mind that the writers mean, when they 
use the word "discipline," the pride which stimulated the 
soldiers to learn their duties rather than incur disgrace, and 
the subordination which proceeded from self-respect, and 
respect for an officer whom they thought worthy to com- 
mand them. 


Morgan Leaves Home for the Army — Scouting and Skirmishing 
on Green River — Organization oe "Morgan's Squadron" — 
Terry's Rangers — Retreat from Bowung Green — Evacuation 
of Nashviiae — Active and Exciting Service About I/Au- 
vergne, murfreesboro and gaiaatin — concentration of army 
at Corinth for Battle. 

In 1857 the company of volunteer militia called the "Lex- 
ington Rifles" was organized with John H. Morgan as cap- 
tain; it subsequently, upon the organization of the State 
Guard, became incorporated in that body. It was composed 
of the finest and most spirited young men of Lexington, and 
soon won a high reputation for proficiency in drill and in 
all the duties taught in the camp of the State Guards, as 
well as for the intelligence and daring of its members. 

From the hour of its organization the men of this com- 
pany seemed to entertain the profoundest love and admira- 
tion for their captain, and the influence and control they ac- 
corded him was not too strongly expressed in the words of 
their motto, which, written in large letters, framed and hung 
up in their armory, caught the eye of every visitor and an- 
nounced "Our laws the commands of our captain." 

It was with the forty-five or fifty men of this company 
who unhesitatingly followed his fortune when he went to the 
Southern army, and a few other kindred spirits who imme- 
diately attached themselves to him, before he had won rank 
or fame, that Morgan began his career, and around them as 
a nucleus he gathered his gallant command. Although 
thoroughly Southern in sentiment and frank to the last de- 
gree in its expression, the members of the company, with one 
or two exceptions, made no effort to go South until Captain 
Morgan signified his readiness to lead them ; in this, as in all 
else, they awaited his decision and directions. The extreme 
illness of his wife, who died in July, 1861, required, during 


the early summer, his constant presence in Lexington, and 
he did not determine to act until after the troops, posted at 
Camp Dick Robinson, and the Home Guard organizations 
began to give unmistakable evidences of hostility to all per- 
sons not "loyal." 

When the order was issued for the disarming of the State 
Guard Morgan determined to save his guns at all hazards. 
The State Guard was by this time virtually disbanded. Many 
of its officers of high rank, elected under the impression that 
they were Southern men, had declared for the other side and 
various other influences tended to cripple and demoralize it. 
An officer, then, of that body, who decided to resist the edict 
disarming his men and leaving them defenseless in the reach 
of armed and bitter political opponents could look for little 
backing from his comrades. His best chance was to make 
his way at once to the Confederate lines in Southern Ken- 
tucky. This Morgan resolved to do. 

On Friday night, September 20, 1861, he confided to a 
few of his most reliable and trusted men his determination 
and plans, and taking the guns from the armory, loaded them 
into two wagons and started them out of Lexington on the 
Versailles road under a small guard. The men composing 
this guard left on such short notice that few of them had 
time to prepare and carry with them even necessary cloth- 
ing; scarcely time to take leave of their families. They 
marched out of town with their cartridge-boxes belted on, 
their rifles on their shoulders loaded, and their bayonets 
fixed. A regiment of Federal troops was encamped that 
night at the fair ground, about a mile from town, and many 
of the officers and men were in town at the time the guns 
were removed. In order to deceive as to his movements and 
lull any suspicion that might exist of his design to move 
the guns, Captain Morgan caused twelve or fifteen men to 
parade and tramp heavily about the armory for an hour or 
two after the wagons had been loaded and started, and so 
created the impression that his company was engaged in 
drilling. The wagons were not stopped in the town, and 
only one soldier was encountered, who was made prisoner 


by the escort, carried off some twenty miles, and then re- 

The loyal citizens who had calculated upon witnessing the 
discomfiture of the "Rifles" and of all their backers were dis- 
appointed. Of course many taunts were flung at the fooled 
spies and disappointed patriots; and at length the angry 
discussions brought on a shooting affray between some of 
the "Rifles" and a part of the troops and Home Guards. 
The regiment stationed at the fair grounds was brought into 
town to quell this affair and two pieces of artillery were 
planted to sweep the principal streets, and from that date, 
for four years, Lexington was under military rule. 

Captain Morgan, for whose arrest an order was immedi- 
ately issued, communicated during the day with such of his 
men as desired to follow him, and at nightfall left Lexington 
with them and rejoined those who had gone before. He 
passed through Anderson county to Nelson and halted a few 
miles from Bardstown. Here he was joined by Captain 
John Cripps Wickliffe, subsequently lieutenant-colonel of 
the Ninth Kentucky Infantry and a very gallant officer 
Captain Wickliffe had determined also to save his guns and 
take his company, or all that would follow him, to the Con- 
federate army. The greater portion of his company, one of 
the finest in the State Guards, elected to go with him. De- 
sirous, while about it, of doing a brisk business in guns he 
confiscated those of a neighboring Home Guard company, 
and brought them to Morgan's camp. They were immedi- 
ately placed in the hands of the unarmed men, who, finding 
an organized force making for the Confederate lines, at- 
tached themselves to it. Many such men, anxious to go 
South, but afraid to go without a leader, came to this camp 
during the four or five days that it was maintained. On ac- 
count of the kindness and liberality of the people who lived 
in that neighborhood, and who supplied its inmates with pro- 
visions of all kinds, this camp was entitled "Camp Charity." 

By the common wish and consent, Morgan took command 
of all the forces, and when, on Saturday evening, September 
28th, he resumed his march, he was at the head of some two 

morgan's cavalry. 41 

hundred men. He encountered no enemy. The Home 
Guards, who mustered strong in the region through which 
he passed, thought his force too formidable to attack and 
kept out of his path. After two days and nights hard 
marching he reached Green river on Monday evening, Sep- 
tember 30th. He received an enthusiastic welcome from the 
Confederate troops stationed there, most of whom were 
Kentuckians and many of them knew him well. Colonel 
Roger W Hanson, the officer in command, was himself 
from Lexington and was a warm personal friend of Mor- 

There were, at Green river, encamped on the Southern 
side of the stream at this date, the Second Kentucky In- 
fantry (Hanson's own regiment), six or seven hundred 
strong, Byrne's Battery, and four companies of Tennessee 
cavalry. Colonel Thomas Hunt, an uncle of Captain Mor- 
gan, was also there with two companies of the regiment he 
was then organizing. 

Of all the general officers which Kentucky gave to the 
Confederate service least justice had been done by fame to 
Roger Hanson, and it is strange that such should be the case. 
Not only was he well known, constantly talked of, greatly 
loved, and ardently admired by the Kentuckians, but his 
name was familiar in all parts of the army. It is true that 
his early death blighted the reputation he was rapidly win- 
ning, but it is hard for those who knew him to understand 
how such a man could have failed to attract more general 
and more lively interest. 

He had little opportunity, during his military life, to show 
the stuff that was in him and to prove that he possessed other 
qualities befitting an officer beside courage and the strictest 
attention to the instruction, the comfort, and the discipline of 
his men. Notwithstanding he was a very strict disciplina- 
rian — and Kentucky troops have little love of discipline — 
he was very popular with his men. They retaliated by nick- 
naming him "Bench-leg," or "Old Flintlock," and admired 
him all the more intensely the more frequently he showed 
them that they could never deceive him nor attempt it with 


impunity. Once, thinking that the health of his regiment 
was getting too bad, and that many cases of illness reported 
as severe were but ruses to escape doing duty, he published 
an order that from that date "there should be but two sick 
men at the same time in each company." No one who ever 
saw Hanson can forget him. In stature he was a little un- 
der the medium height and powerfully but ungracefully 
built. His bulky and ungainly form indicated great but 
awkward strength. His shoulders were huge, round and 
stooping, and he sat on his horse in the attitude in which a 
sick man bends over the fire. His head was large and per- 
fectly round. His complexion was fair and florid and his 
eyes gray and full of light. His strong and marked feat- 
ures, when he became excited, worked strangely and ap- 
parently without being moved by the same influences, and 
the alert movement of his head, at such moments, was in 
singular contrast with his otherwise heavy inactive manner. 
His face when he was calm and giving careful attention to 
anything said to him wore a look of exceeding sternness, en- 
hanced by a peculiar twitch of the muscles of the mouth and 
eye. A wound received in a duel had shortened one leg and 
gave him a singular gait, something between a jerk and a 
roll. His voice was deep and guttural and his utterance 
rapid, decided, abrupt, like that of a man who meant all that 
he said and knew that it would produce an effect. No one 
could look him in the eye and fail to perceive that he was 
every inch a man — a strong, brave, manly nature looked out 
in every lineament of his face. 

Captain Wickliffe attached his company to the regiment 
which Colonel Hunt was organizing. Of the stragglers 
who had come out with Captain Morgan some went one way 
and some another — only eight or ten remained with him. 
Although not yet in the Confederate service, he at once com- 
menced the active and daring work which laid the founda- 
tion of his celebrity and brought him at once into general 
notice. The cavalry which had been stationed there pre- 
viously to his coming had confined themselves to doing 
picket duty, and had never sought or been required to do 

morgan's cavalry. 43 

other seryice. This monotonous work, altogether devoid of 
excitement, did not accord with his nature, which demanded 
the stimulus of adventure; he, moreover, intuitively under- 
stood then, and declared the fact since so completely demon- 
strated, that cavalry can be employed to far better advan- 
tage if kept well out upon the front or flanks of the army to 
which it belonged and close upon the enemy than by exacting 
of it the sort of duty which can just as well be performed 
by infantry. 

The Federal advance forces were then stationed at Eliza- 
bethtown, and were soon pushed to Nolin creek, distant 
about twenty-one or two miles from Munfordsville. Cap- 
tain Morgan had at first not more than twenty mounted 
men of his own company, but with these and with volunteers 
from the other cavalry who were inspired by his example 
he made frequent "scouts," and watched and reported every- 
thing that transpired upon the front. These "excursions" 
were undertaken about four or five times in every week and 
would usually occupy twenty-four hours. The scouting 
party would set out at or a little before dark ; before reach- 
ing the lines of the enemy some exciting chases would be had 
after the countrymen who were in Federal pay or sympathy, 
and who, always on the lookout for us, would start at break- 
neck speed for the camp of their friends pursued by our fore- 
most riders. At first they tried to do this courier duty on 
horseback, but finding that we were better mounted than 
they were and that, when hard pressed and forced to take to 
the brush, their horses were abandoned forever, they betook 
themselves to a less expensive mode of conveying informa- 
tion. They were fleet of foot and knew the paths through 
the thickets and hills perfectly, and it was difficult to follow 
and impossible to catch them. We, also, had many friends 
among the country people living near the enemy's camp, and 
as we would prowl all night around and among the Federal 
pickets and outposts, seeking to entrap the unwary, many 
were the secret conferences which we held in the shade of 
the woods with faithful informants, who generally closed 

44 morgan's cavalry. 

their reports with emphatic adjurations that, "For the love 
of God," we would never breathe their names. 

Once or twice Captain Morgan passed himself as a Fed- 
eral officer, in close vicinity to their camps, but this ruse 
could not be repeated often with success. Once we were 
guided safely out of a very dangerous situation by an 
intensely "loyal" man who thought he was assisting some 
friends who had lost their way. When day returned the 
scouting party would take a position on the "line of retreat" 
at a convenient but safe distance from the enemy, rest and 
refresh men and horses, observe closely if there was any 
unusual movement in the hostile lines, and as the day de- 
clined and it became evident that all was likely to remain 
quite it would return to camp. After the first two or three 
weeks of this sort of service and its advantages had become 
apparent, an order was given to turn over to Captain Mor- 
gan some thirty "condemned" artillery horses. With a lit- 
tle care and nursing they were rendered tolerably fit for his 
purposes, and he was thus enabled to mount the better part 
of his company. I knew a scout to be performed, with most 
of the men riding these same rejected horses, of sixty-eight 
miles in twenty hours. Although these scouts and expedi- 
tions were not nearly so exciting as were subsequent ones, 
when the cavalry of both armies had become more accus- 
tomed to them and more enterprising, yet they were very 
pleasant episodes in the dull tedious life of the camp, and 
excellent preparation for really hard and hazardous service. 
Morgan himself derived great benefit from the experience 
they gave him, for he rarely if ever missed them. Hie always 
knew how to direct and how to estimate the scouting duty of 
his command, one of the most important, by the practical 
knowledge thus acquired. The fatigue and discomfort 
from want of sleep attending these expeditions to those who 
went constantly upon them was almost as great as that suf- 
fered in later and far more difficult service. 

The first skirmish in which Morgan's company or any por- 
tion of it was engaged was a very insignificant and blood- 


less one, and served only to illustrate the character of the 
apprehensions which are apt to assail raw troops. 

It was upon the second or third scout that Captain Mor- 
gan had taken that we for the first time met the enemy 
Contrary to the usual practice, the scouting party had 
started out early in the day; it consisted of some fifteen of 
Morgan's own company, twenty-five of the Tennessee cav- 
alry, and ten or fifteen volunteers, about fifty in all. After 
proceeding some twelve miles in the direction of Nolin 
creek, the advance of our party suddenly discovered a body 
of Federal infantry moving down the road toward us. 
Their bayonets glistening and just perceptible above a little 
rise three or four hundred yards off notified the videttes of 
their vicinity. They did not see us and we immediately dis- 
mounted and posted ourselves in the thickets on both sides of 
the road, sending the horses to the rear under charge of eight 
or ten men. No plan of battle was adopted, although many 
were proposed — the various suggestions, however, that were 
thrown out in the inspiration of the moment are lost to his- 
tory. I remember, however, that one man gave it as his de- 
cided opinion that we ought to< charge them immediately on 
horseback, and he then rode rapidly back to Green river to 
report the situation to Colonel Hanson. Enjoining silence 
on the talkative, Captain Morgan went forward on foot to a 
house, about one hundred and forty or fifty yards in front of 
our position, and looked out from a window which com- 
manded a full view of their approach upon the enemy. He 
saw a body of sixty or seventy, but this came so close upon 
him that he was compelled to leave the house before he could 
discover whether it was the advance of another and larger 
body or was unsupported. Fortunately he effected his re- 
treat from the house and rejoined his party without discov- 
ery by the enemy. The latter continued to march on past 
the house toward our position, until, when within forty or 
fifty yards of us, something discovered us to them and they 
halted. Captain Morgan immediately stepped out into the 
road and fired at and shot the officer riding at the head of the 
column. Without returning the fire his men fell back to 

46 morgan's cavalry. 

the house before mentioned, situated on a long, low knoll, 
through which, to the left of the house as we faced, was a 
cut of the railroad. This afforded a pretty good position 
and one which we should have taken ourselves. Here they 
deployed and opened a volley upon us, which would have 
been very fatal if we had been in the tops of instead of be- 
hind the trees. Both sides then continued to load and fire 
rapidly. With us, every man ought to have behaved well, 
for each acted upon his own responsibility. Captain Mor- 
gan, with a few of the more enterprising, and one or two 
personal followers who always kept close to him, worked his 
way very nigh to the enemy and did the only shooting that 
was effective. We had neither drill nor any understanding 
among ourselves. The fight was much like a camp-meet- 
ing or an election row- After it had lasted about ten or 
twelve minutes an intelligent horseholder came up from the 
rear, breathless, and announced that the enemy was flanking 
us and that he had been largely reinforced. "The receipt of 
this important intelligence necessitated the withdrawal of the 
forces," and every man withdrew after his own fashion and 
in his own time. "Our loss" was one man slightly wounded 
and several shot through the clothes. 

Captain Morgan continued actively engaged in this sort 
of service until the troops were withdrawn from Woodson- 
ville, when he was also ordered to Bowling Green. There 
the men were sworn into the service and the company reg- 
ularly organized and officers elected. John H. Morgan was 
of course elected captain; I was elected first lieutenant; 
James h- West second lieutenant ; Van Buren Sellers, third, 
or, more properly, brevet second lieutenant. The strength 
of the company was then a little above the "minimum" re- 
quired for organization, numbering sixty-seven privates. 

Immediately after reaching Bowling Green excellent 
horses were purchased and turned over to the company by 
General Buckner's order, and saddles, bridles, tents, etc., 
were issued to it. It was already provided with the best 
guns and accoutrements, and when the fitting up at Bowling 

morgan's cavalry. 47 

Green was completed, no command in the Confederate serv- 
ice was better equipped in any respect. 

At this period two other companies, one commanded by 
Captain Thomas Allen of Shelbyville, Kentucky, and the 
other by Captain James B. Bowles of Louisville, but prin- 
cipally recruited in the neighborhood of Glasgow, were as- 
signed to Captain Morgan's command at the earnest request 
of their officers and men. Bowles's company was not full, 
and was consolidated with another fragment of a company 
commanded by Lieutenant Churchill — the latter becoming 
first lieutenant of the new organization. 

The three companies composed "Morgan's Squadron," a 
popular misnomer, by which, however, the command came in 
a short time to be regularly designated. Morgan's company 
became A of this organization; Allen's, B; Bowles's, C. 
The squadron remained quietly in camp, at Bowling Green, 
for two or three weeks after its organization. This time was 
profitably spent in instructing the men in drill and teaching 
them something of discipline. The first expedition taken 
after this was to Grayson county, on the north side of Green 
river, to collect and bring to Bowling Green a large drove 
of cattle which had been purchased but could not- be brought 
out without a guard. 

The Home Guards held this county in strong force; 
they had long expected a Confederate inroad and had sternly 
determined to punish the invaders when they came. The 
Squadron reached the ferry at which it was directed to cross 
at night. We found the boats sunken but raised them, filled 
up the holes bored in their bottoms, bailed them out, and by 
8 o'clock next morning we had one company across. The 
day was spent in crossing the cattle to the southern side of 
the river. On the following evening the entire Squadron 
was transferred to the north side of the river and passed the 
night agreeably in chasing the Home Guards, who did not 
make a hard fight but ran off some twenty or thirty miles to 
a neighboring county to "rally." 

Shortly after his return to Bowling Green from this expe- 
dition, Captain Morgan was ordered to the front again and 

48 morgan's cavalry. 

reported to Brigadier-General Hindman, who commanded a 
brigade of infantry and a strong force of cavalry, in all three 
thousand or thirty-five hundred men, upon the extreme front 
of our line. 

General Hindman's headquarters were at Bell's tavern, 
twenty-five miles from Bowling Green, and thirteen from 
Munfordsville, then occupied by the enemy, who had ad- 
vanced to Green river, ten or fifteen days after we left there. 

A. few days before Morgan's arrival had occurred the 
fight in which Colonel Terry, of the Eighth Texas Cavalry 
(better known then as Terry's Rangers), was killed, and of 
which so many contradictory versions have prevailed. 

General Hindman had received information that a strong 
body of the enemy had crossed the river, and desiring to 
ascertain if this movement was preliminary to an advance of 
the entire army, he moved forward with the greater part of 
his infantry, some artillery and Terry's regiment of calvary, 
to reconnoiter, and, perhaps, contest an advance if it were 
made. When he arrived at the ground upon which the fight 
commenced, about three miles from the river, he discovered 
the enemy and, supposing his force to be not stronger than 
his own, determined to engage him. 

When first seen, the enemy was slowly advancing, un- 
aware of Hindman's vicinity, and that the latter had screened 
the bulk of his force behind a large hill, upon the eastern 
side of the Bowling Green road, the summit of which he 
occupied with skirmishers, and posted his artillery some dis- 
tance farther back, where it was partially concealed and 
could yet sweep the road and the ground over which the 
enemy was advancing. 

Terry was instructed to skirmish in the enemy's front and 
draw him on until his flank should be exposed to the infan- 
try that was masked behind the hill. It was the intention, 
then, to attack vigorously with all the infantry, throw a 
part of it in the enemy's rear, and between him and the 
river, while Terry charged him on the other flank. One 
part of Terry's regiment, under his own immediate com- 
mand, was on the right of the road at a considerable dis- 


tance from any support. Another, commanded by one of 
his captains, was posted nearer the infantry 

Hindman's plan to bring his whole force into action and 
cut off and capture a part of the enemy's was frustrated 
by the impatient ardor of Terry, who, after a very brief 
retreat before Willich's regiment of infantry, turned and 
charged it furiously. The regiment was deployed in skir- 
mish order, and had barely time to "rally by fours," when 
Terry, of whose command they had, up to that moment, seen 
only a very few, came down on them. The Texans rode 
around the groups of four, shooting the men down with 
their revolvers and shotguns. Seeing his colonel engaged, 
the officer commanding the other portion of the regiment 
charged the enemy nighest him with similar success. Terry 
and six of his men were killed and perhaps twice that num- 
ber wounded. All the witnesses on the Confederate side con- 
curred in saying that fifteen or twenty of the Federals were 
killed, and as many more, at least, wounded. 

Although almost constantly close upon the outposts of 
the enemy, sometimes in small detachments, and occasionally 
with every effective man, the Squadron had no engagement 
except the picket fights, which were of constant occurrence. 
The reason of this was that the Federals never came outside 
of their lines, except for very short distances, and then in 
bodies so strong that we dared not attack them. 

One or two adventures of Captain Morgan at this period 
attracted a good deal of notice. One of them, the burning of 
Bacon creek bridge, took place before he reported to Hind- 
man. This bridge had been destroyed at the time our forces 
fell back from Woodsonville. It was a small structure and 
easily replaced, but its reparation was necessary to the use 
of the road. The Federal army then lay encamped between 
Bacon and Nolin creeks, the advance about three miles from 
Bacon creek — the outposts were scarcely half a mile from the 
bridge. A few days' labor served to erect the wood work 
of the bridge, and it was ready to receive the iron rails, when 
Morgan a second time destroyed it under the very nose 
of the enemy. Shortly after Woodsonville had been in- 


eluded within the picket lines of the enemy and occupied with 
troops, Captain Morgan with two men went at night to 
Rowlett's station, on the railroad, about two hundred yards 
from the picket line, and found the small building which was 
used as a depot in the possession of five or six stragglers, 
who were playing cards and making merry, and captured 
them. He set fire to the building, and when the troops had 
been called out by the bright light he sent in a message by 
one of his prisoners to the effect that in the following week 
he would come and burn them out of Woodsonville. 

On the evening of the 20th or 21st of January Captain 
Morgan with five men left his camp at Bell's tavern, crossed 
the Green river at an unguarded ferry, and on the following 
day rode into Lebanon, some sixty miles from his point of 
departure. Several hundred troops were encamped near 
this place, and a great many stores were in the town and in 
a large building between the town and the nearest camp. 
The soldiers off or on duty were frequently passing to and 
fro through the town. Morgan destroyed the stores, and 
made all the stragglers prisoners, some of them he was 
obliged to release after taking their overcoats, with which 
he disguised his own men and was thus enabled to get 
quietly through some dangerous situations. He brought 
back with him nine prisoners, a large flag and several other 
trophies. Two companies of cavalry followed him closely, 
but he gained the river first, crossed and turned the boat 
adrift, just as his pursuers reached the bank. Next day he 
marched into Glasgow with his five men and nine prisoners 
in column, and the United States flag flying at the front. 
He frightened the citizens of the place and two or three 
straggling Confederates who were there. The flag and blue 
overcoats demoralized them. 

When he reached his own camp the prisoners were quar- 
tered with different "messes," but were not placed under 
regular guard. The inmates of each tent in which prisoners 
were placed were held responsible for them. On this occa- 
sion it happened that some of the men (by means in which 
they were learned and adroit) had obtained several bottles 

morgan's cavalry. 51 

of wine — sparkling Catawba — and the prisoners were as- 
sured that this sort of wine was regularly issued to the Con- 
federate cavalry by their commissaries. They approved the 
wine and the practice of including it in soldiers' rations, and 
five of them next morning begged, with tears in their eyes, 
to be received into the Confederate service. These adven- 
tures are not related because it is thought that they will ex- 
cite any especial interest, but because they fairly represent 
the nature of the service in which Morgan was constantly 
engaged during the occupation of Southern Kentucky by 
the Confederate army, in the fall of 1861, and the greater 
part of the succeeding winter. 

Although greatly inferior in dash and execution to the 
subsequent cavalry operations of the West, this service of 
Morgan's was much superior, in both, to any thing which 
had up to that time, been attempted by either side, and it 
served to educate Morgan's men and Morgan himself for 
the successful conduct of more daring and far more impor- 
tant enterprises. 

A strong and mutual feeling of regard and friendship 
commenced (during the period that we served with General 
Hindman), between the Eighth Texas (Terry's Rangers), 
and the Squadron, which continued to the close of the war, 
growing warmer as Morgan's command grew in numbers, 
and, doubtless, it exists, now, in the hearts of the men who 
composed the two organizations. This feeling interfered 
in some degree with discipline, for most of the men of both 
were young and wild, and inclined, when they could evade 
the vigilance of camp guards, to rove nocturnally and ex- 
tensively, and neither, when on picket, would arrest or stop 
their friends from the other command. 

The gallant Rangers paid dearly for their proud record, 
and few of those who used to roam and fight so recklessly 
then, are, I fear, living now, to recall the events which we 
witnessed together. The Squadron remained with the 
forces under command of General Hindman until the 
evacuation of Bowling Green and the retreat from Kentucky. 
Then we left the scenes and the region with which we had 


become so familiar with sad hearts. We had hoped that 
when the signal for departure was sounded it would be also 
the order to advance; that we would press on to recover the 
whole of Kentucky, and win victories that would give her 
to us forever, and the retreat seemed to us like a march to 
our graves. But a feeling of regret at leaving the country 
in which we had passed months of such pleasant and stirring 
service was natural, even without other reasons for it. Men 
are apt to become attached to the localities where they have 
led free and active lives, and to connect with them agreeable 
associations. This country had many such for us, and that 
part especially between Bell's tavern on the one side of 
Green river and Nolin on the other. For many miles to the 
right and left there was scarcely a foot of the ground which 
we had not traversed nor a thicket in which we had not 
hidden ; from almost every hill we had watched the enemy, 
and at almost every turn in the road shot at him. 

In the latter part of January, 1862, it became evident that 
General Johnston, with the inferior force at his disposal, 
could not hold his line in Kentucky. Crittenden, upon the 
right flank, had sustained a serious disaster at Mill Springs, 
near Somerset, and had been forced back across the Cum- 
berland, which he had crossed to attack Thomas. In this 
battle General Zollicoffer was killed. Crittenden retreated 
first upon Monticello and subsequently to Gainesville, in 
Tennessee. He lost his artillery and trains, and his troops 
could be relied on to oppose no effective resistance — for the 
time — to the farther advance of the enemy. The superiority 
of the latter in numbers had been not more marked than 
their superiority in arms and equipment. The fatigue and 
privation endured by Crittenden's men upon their retreat 
had contributed greatly to impair their efficiency. The ex- 
peditions against Forts Henry and Donelson were vigor- 
ously pressed, and scarcely had full confirmation arrived of 
the defeat of Crittenden when we got the first rumors of 
the fall of Fort Henry. General Johnston had never been 
able to collect at all the points of defense in Kentucky, 
exclusive of Columbus, more than twenty-four thousand 

morgan's cavalry. 53 

men. In this force were included sixty-days' men and all 
the minor garrisons. He had at Bowling Green in January 
and the ist of February about ten thousand. 

Buell had organized, during the period that the two armies 
lay inactive and confronting each other, fifty or sixty thou- 
sand men, and they were, at the time when General Johnston 
commenced his retreat, concentrated, mobilized, and ready 
to fall upon him. Therefore, even before it became evident 
that Donelson must fall, before the capture of Nashville was 
imminent by an enemy moving from either flank, and before 
his line of retreat was endangered, but just so soon as Buell 
put his army in motion, General Johnston evacuated Bowling 
Green. Then began the campaign, in which more than in 
any other of the war, was displayed the profoundest strategy, 
the most heroic decision, the highest order of generalship. 

General Johnston had long foreseen the storm of diffi- 
culties which now assailed him. His resources were scanty 
and the emergency was terrible, but he did not despair of 
fighting through it to victory. Upon one flank of his line 
he had sustained a crushing defeat; the forces protecting 
it had been driven off. Nashville might be taken by the 
victors. One of the forts protecting the great water lines 
which led right into the heart of his department, and away 
to the rear of his army, had been taken. If the other fell 
the fate of Nashville was sealed, but far worse, he would 
be inclosed at Bowling Green, should he remain there, be- 
tween three armies, each much stronger than his own. If 
he lingered around Nashville he could not protect the city, 
but gave his enemy the opportunity of cutting him off com- 
pletely from the only territory whence he could hope to ob- 
tain recruits, and of preventing his junction with the rein- 
forcements which he had ordered to his assistance. He did 
not hesitate a moment. 

Price and Van Dorn were ordered from Arkansas, Bragg 
was ordered from Pensacola, all the available troops at New 
Orleans and every point in the department where troops were 
stationed were called into the field, and the concentration of 
all at Corinth, in northern Mississippi, was arranged. Here 


he would have every thing massed and in hand, and in his 
rear would be no danger nor indefensible line by which 
danger could menace him. His adversaries on the contrary- 
would be separated from each other ; rivers and all the perils 
of a hostile population would be between them and safety; 
if they were defeated or forced to turn and retreat energy 
and promptness would enable him to strike them heavy blows 
before they could unite; if every detail of his plan worked 
right he might hope to outnumber them at every collision. 

This plan would require the evacuation of Columbus, even 
if the occupation of New Madrid did not ; but there was no 
longer any use of holding Columbus after a retreat to Mis- 
sissippi had been decided upon. Its garrison would help to 
swell the ranks of the army for the decisive battle; — and if 
that battle were won territory far north of Columbus would 
be recovered. Therefore, braving censure and remonstrance 
more general, energetic, and daring, than was ever encoun- 
tered by any Confederate officer, before or since, General 
Johnston turned his back upon Kentucky and commenced 
the retreat which culminated in the battle of Shiloh. When 
the dangers from which this retreat extricated him, the fa- 
vorable position in which it placed him for offensive opera- 
tions, the exact calculation of the proper time to turn retreat 
into attack, and the electric rapidity and courage with which 
the latter was done are considered, is it claiming too much 
to say that no conception of the war wa<? more magnificent? 

The evacuation of Bowling Green was commenced on the 
14th of February, and notwithstanding the discontent of 
the troops was accomplished in perfect order. On the day 
after it was all over, the enemy arrived upon the opposite 
bank of Barren river— the bridges had all, of course, been 
burned — and shelled the town, which he could not imme- 
diately enter. 

The weather for the week following the evacuation was 
intensely cold, and the troops accustomed, for the most part, 
to comfortable quarters during the winter, and exposed for 
the first time to real hardships, suffered severely. Still, after 
the first murmuring was over, they were kept in high spirits 

morgan's cavalry. 55 

by the impression, assiduously cultivated by their officers, 
that they were marching to surprise and attack Thomas, 
who was supposed to have compromised himself by an im- 
prudent pursuit of Crittenden. 

The news from Donelson, where the fight was then raging 
was very favorable, and the successful defense of the fort for 
several days encouraged even General Johnston to hope that 
it would be held and the assailants completely beaten off. 

As the army neared Nashville, some doubts of the truth of 
the program which the men had arranged in their imagin- 
ations began to intrude, and they began to believe that the 
retreat meant in good earnest the giving up of Kentucky — 
perhaps something more which they were unwilling to con- 
template. While they were in this state of doubt and 
anxiety, like a thunder-clap came the news of the fall of 
Donelson — the news that seven thousand Confederates were 
prisoners in the hands of the enemy. General Johnston, 
himself, was thoroughly surprised by the suddenness of the 
disaster, for six hours before he received information of the 
surrender he had been dispatched that the enemy had been 
signally repulsed, and were drawing off, and until the in- 
telligence came of the fate of the garrison he had learned of 
no new attack. The depression which this information pro- 
duced was deepened by the gloom which hung over Nash- 
ville when the troops entered. It is impossible to describe 
the scene. Disasters were then new to us, and our people 
had been taught to believe them impossible. No subsequent 
reverse, although fraught with far more real calamity, ever 
created the shame, sorrow, and wild consternation which 
swept over the South with the news of the surrender of 
Donelson. And in Nashville, itself sure to fall next and 
speedily, an anguish and terror were felt and expressed, 
scarcely to be conceived by those who have not witnessed a 
similar scene. All the worst evils which follow in the train 
of war and subjugation seemed to be anticipated by the 
terrified people, and the feeling was quickly communicated 
to the troops, and grew with every hour until it assumed al- 
most the proportions of a panic. The Tennessee troops were 

56 morgan's cavalry. 

naturally most influenced by the considerations which af- 
fected the citizens, but all shared the feeling. Some wept 
at the thought of abandoning the city to a fate which they 
esteemed as dreadful as utter destruction, and many, in- 
furiated, loudly advocated burning it to the ground that 
the enemy might have nothing of it but its ashes. 

During the first night after the army reached Nashville, 
when the excitement and fury were at the highest pitch, and 
officers and privates were alike influenced by it, it seemed 
as if the bonds of discipline would be cast off altogether. 
Crowds of soldiers were mingled with the citizens who 
thronged the streets all night, and yells, curses, shots rang 
on all sides. In some houses the women were pale and 
sobbing, and in others there was even merriment, as if in 
defiance of the worst. Very soon all those who had escaped 
from Donelson began to arrive. 

Forrest had cut his way through the beleaguering lines 
and brought off his entire regiment. He reached Nashville 
on the day after it was entered by the army. It was im- 
possible for the infantry men who escaped to make their 
way from the scene of disaster except in small detachments. 
They were necessarily scattered all over the country, and 
those who reached Nashville in time to accompany the army 
upon its farther march, came in as stragglers and without 
any organization. Neither men nor officers had an idea of 
how or when they were to do duty again. The arrival of 
these disbanded soldiers, among whom it was difficult to es- 
tablish and enforce order, because no immediate disposition 
could be made of them, increased the confusion already 
prevailing. Rumors, too, of the near approach of the enemy 
were circulated, and were believed even by officers of high 

Buell's army, which was really not far south of Bowling 
Green, was reported to be within a few miles of the city, and 
the Federal gunboats, which had not yet reached Clarksville, 
were confidently declared to be within sight of Fort Zolli- 
coffer, only seven miles below Nashville. 

Upon the second day matters had arrived at such a state, 

morgan's cavalry. 57 

and the excitement and disorder were so extreme, that it 
became necessary to take other precautions to repress the 
license that was prevailing besides the establishment of 
guards and sentinels about the camps where the troops lay, 
and General Johnston ordered the establishment of a strong 
military police in Nashville. The First Missouri Infantry, 
one of the finest and best disciplined regiments in the service, 
was detailed for this duty, and Morgan's Squadron was sent 
to assist it. Our duty was to patrol the city and suburbs, 
and we were constantly engaged at it until the city was 
evacuated. General John B. Floyd, of Virginia, was ap- 
pointed commandant of Nashville, and entrusted with the 
enforcement of discipline and with all the details of the 
evacuation. His task was one of no ordinary difficulty. It 
was hard, at such a time, to know how to begin the work. 
In such a chaos, with such passions ruling, it seemed folly 
to hope for the restoration of order. Those who remember 
the event will recall the feeling of despair which had seized 
upon the soldiery; the entire army seemed, for the time, 
hopeless of any retrieval of our fortunes, and every man was 
thoroughly reckless. Few excesses were committed; but, 
with such a temper prevailing, the worst consequences were 
to be apprehended, if the influence of the officers should be 
entirely lost and the minds of the men should be directed to 
mischief. General Floyd would have found the demorali- 
zation and license which had grown apace among the troops, 
and the terrors of the citizens, serious impediments to his 
efforts to remove the valuable stores which had been collected 
in Nashville, even if he had possessed abundant facilities for 
their removal. But of such facilities he was almost entirely 
destitute. The trains with the army were needed for trans- 
portation of supplies for immediate use. The scanty wheel 
transportation which belonged to captured and disorganized 
commands, and had been brought to the city, could scarcely 
be made available. When it could be discovered and laid 
hold of, the wagons and teams were usually found to be un- 
serviceable. General Floyd's first care (after satisfying him- 
self by active scouting that there was no truth in the reports 

58 morgan's cavalry. 

of the proximity of the enemy, and burning the bridge at 
Edgefield junction), was to make arrangements for saving 
as many of the supplies as was possible, giving the preference 
to ordnance stores. For this purpose he ordered an impress- 
ment of transportation in Nashville and the vicinity, making 
a clean sweep of every thing that ran on wheels. He issued 
orders that the citizens should be permitted to help them- 
selves to the remaining stores, and a promiscuous scram- 
ble for clothing, blankets, meat, meal, and all sorts of quar- 
termaster and commissary stores, commenced and lasted 
three days. Occasionally, a half-drunken, straggling soldier 
would walk into the midst of the snatchers, with gun on 
shoulder and pistol at his belt, and the citizens would stand 
back, jackal like, until he had helped himself. Crowds would 
stand upon the pavements underneath the tall buildings upon 
the Court House square, while out of their fourth and fifth 
story windows large bales of goods were pitched, which 
would have crushed any one upon whom they had fallen. 
Yet numbers would rush and fasten upon them while other 
bales were already in the air descending. Excitement and 
avarice seemed to stimulate the people to preternatural 
strength. I saw an old woman, whose appearance indicated 
the extremest decrepitude, staggering under a load of meat 
which I would have hardly thought a quartermaster's mule 
could carry. Twice during the first day of these scenes orders 
were received by a portion of Forrest's regiment, drawn up 
on the square, to stop the appropriation of stores by the citi- 
zens, and they accordingly charged the crowd (deaf to any 
less forcible reason) with drawn sabres; several men were 
wounded and trampled upon, but fortunately none were 
killed. Nothing could have been more admirable than the 
fortitude, patience, and good sense which General Floyd dis- 
played in his arduous and unenviable task. He had, already, 
for ten days, endured great and uninterrupted excitement 
and fatigue ; without respite or rest, he was called to this re- 
sponsibility and duty Those who have never witnessed nor 
been placed in such situations can not understand how they 
harass the mind and try the temper. 

morgan's cavalry. 59 

General Floyd soon found that he could (with no exer- 
tion) maintain perfect order, or rescue more than a frag- 
ment from the wreck, and he bent all his energies to the task 
of repressing serious disorders, preventing the worst out- 
rages, and preserving all that was most absolutely required 
for the use of the army and that it was practical to remove. 

At last the evacuation was completed, the army was gotten 
clear of Nashville, the last straggler driven out, all the stores 
which could not be carried off, nor distributed to the citizens, 
burned, and the capital of Tennessee (although we did not 
know it then) was abandoned finally to the enemy. Mor- 
gan's Squadron was the last to leave, as it was required to 
remain in the extreme rear of the army and pick up all the 
stragglers that evaded the rear guards of the infantry. Our 
scouts left behind, when we, in turn, departed, witnessed the 
arrival of the Federals and their occupation of the city. 

The army was halted at Murfreesboro, thirty miles from 
Nashville, where it remained for nearly a week. Here it 
was joined by the remnant of Crittenden's forces. After a 
few days given to repose, reorganization and re-establish- 
ment of discipline, General Johnston resumed his retreat. 
He concluded it with a battle in which he himself was the 
assailant, and which, but for his death, would have advanced 
our banners to the Ohio. It was fruitless of apparent and 
immediate results, but it checked for more than a year the 
career of Federal conquest, infused fresh courage into the 
Southern people, and gave them breathing time to rally for 
further contest. His death upon the field prevented vast and 
triumphant results from following it then ; the incompetency 
of his successors squandered glorious chances (months af- 
terward) which this battle directly gave to the Confederacy. 

When the line of march was taken up and the heads of the 
columns were still turned southward, the dissatisfaction of 
the troops broke out into fresh and frequent murmurs. Dis- 
cipline, somewhat restored at Murfreesboro, had been too 
much relaxed by the scenes witnessed at Nashville to impose 
much restraint upon them. Unjust as it was, officers and 

60 morgan's cavalry. 

men concurred in laying the whole burden of blame upon 
General Johnston. 

Crossing the Tennessee river at Decatur, Ala., and de- 
stroying the immense railroad bridge at that point, General 
Johnston pressed on down through the valley, through 
Courtland, Tuscumbia, and Iuka, to Corinth. This was for 
a short time, until he could concentrate for battle, the goal 
of his march. Here all the reinforcements at his command 
could reach him, coming from every direction. He only 
awaited their arrival to attack the enemy, which, flushed 
with the successes at Henry and Donelson, lay exposed to 
his blows, ignorant of his vicinity . 

The force with which he crossed the Tennessee river was 
a little over twenty thousand men. It was composed of the 
troops which had held the lines in Kentucky — those which 
had been stationed at Bowling Green, all that was left of 
Crittenden's command, all that were left of the garrisons of 
Donelson and Henry. The garrisons of minor importance 
in Tennessee contributed, as the State was evacuated, to 
strengthen the army. He was very soon joined by the forces 
from Pensacola, about ten thousand strong and a splendid 
body of men. They were superior in arms, equipments, in- 
struction, and dress to all of the western troops, and pre- 
sented an imposing appearance and striking contrast to their 
weather-stained, dusty and travel-worn comrades. Nothing 
had ever occurred to them to impair their morale; they 
seemed animated by the stern spirit and discipline which 
characterized their commander, and a fit reserve with which 
to turn the tide of fortune. Beauregard brought with him 
some troops from New Orleans and other parts of Louisiana. 
General Polk came with the troops which had held Colum- 
bus. Several hurriedly raised and organized regiments came 
from the various States of the department. Price and Van 
Dorn, having between them fifteen thousand veterans, did 
not arrive in season to participate in the immediate move- 
ments which General Johnston had determined upon. A 
knowledge that the retreat had been brought to a close and 
that a battle was about to be fought in which we would 

morgan's cavalry. 6 1 

attack did more to inspirit the troops and restore to them 
soldierly feeling and bearing than any efforts in behalf of 
discipline. The spirit of the men who had come from 
Florida and other points not surrendered to the enemy had a 
favorable influence upon the remainder, whose pride was 
aroused by the comparison and example. The sudden and 
seemingly magical change from despondency to highest 
hope, from a sullen indifference to duty to the most cheerful 
alacrity and perfect subordination, showed how wonderfully 
susceptible was the material which composed our army to 
the hopes inspired by a daring policy. The same men who 
had dragged themselves reluctantly along, as if careless of 
reputation and forgetful of the cause they had to fight for, 
were now full of zeal, energy, and confidence. Those who 
had almost broken out into open mutiny now rendered the 
promptest obedience to every order. The denunciations they 
had uttered against General Johnston were silenced just so 
soon as they learned that he was about to lead them to in- 
stant battle, and his name was never mentioned except with 
becoming respect, and often with praise. In short, every 
trace of demoralization disappeared — courage, pride, and 
efficiency returned; and, from a condition not much better 
than that of an armed mob, the army became again disci- 
plined, valiant, and reliable. 

While the army was retreating through Tennessee, Mor- 
gan's Squadron remained in the neighborhood of Nashville 
until all the detachments which had been left in the rear to 
protect and ship off by rail the stores and supplies (which 
could be hastily collected) at Murfreesboro, Shelby ville, and 
other points, had gotten through with their work and de- 
parted after the army. Morgan encamped his command at 
L,a Vergne, a station upon the railroad about half way be- 
tween Nashville and Murfreesboro. This little place became 
quite famous in the subsequent annals of the war. 

Here, for the first time, we met the Fourth Ohio Cav- 
alry — our acquaintance afterward became more intimate and 
lasted as long as that gallant regiment was in the field. The 
Fourth was encamped at the "Lunatic Asylum," eight miles 

62 morgan's cavalry. 

from Nashville, on the Murfreesboro pike, and seven miles 
from La Vergne. Our respective "bases" were consequently 
pretty close to each other. Our pickets used to stand in sight 
of theirs during the day, and in hearing distance at night. 
The videttes treated each other with respect and considera- 
tion, but the scouts were continually slipping around and 
through the woods and shooting some one. On one occa- 
sion an officer of the Fourth placed some men in ambush in 
a thicket upon the side of the road, and then with a small 
party rode down near to our pickets, fired, turned and gal- 
loped away again, hoping that some of us would be induced 
to follow and receive the fire of his ambuscade. The night 
was dark, and by an unaccountable mistake the men in am- 
bush fired into their own friends as they passed. 

One morning our pickets came rushing in with a party of 
the enemy in pursuit (no unusual occurrence), and as we 
stood to arms we noticed one of the pickets some distance in 
the rear of the others and almost in the clutches of the en- 
emy, who were peppering away at him. It was private Sam 
Murrill, of Company C, (afterward chief of my couriers 
and a first-rate soldier to the end of the war,) his horse was 
slow and blown, and the foremost pursuer had gotten along 
side of him and presented his pistol at his head. Murrill, 
too quick for him, fired first, and as his enemy dropped dead 
from the saddle seized pistol and horse, and, although closely 
pushed, until the guns of his comrades drove back his daring 
pursuers, brought both in triumph into camp. These small 
affairs were of daily occurrence, but at last our opponents 
became more wary and circumspect and to obtain decided 
advantages we had to go into their lines. We noticed finally 
that they adopted a practice of withdrawing their pickets at 
night, from the points where they stood during the day, 
some miles to the rear. Captain Morgan after making this 
discovery, resolved to anticipate them at the place where 
they made their picket base at night. He remained with a 
few men demonstrating all day in sight of the outpost pick- 
ets, and just before nightfall made a circuit which carried 
him far to their rear, previously to their withdrawal. He 

morgan's cavalry. 63 

reached the place (where he learned that a party of twenty- 
five or thirty stood nightly ) , about the time that it was fairly 

It was a small house, in a yard some eighty or ninety feet 
square surrounded by a fence of cedar. He had with him 
nine men; of these he detailed five to hold the horses, and 
with the other four, all armed with shot guns loaded with 
buckshot, he lay down behind the low fence. The horses 
were sent back some distance into the bushes. Captain Mor- 
gan instructed his party to hold their fire until he gave the 
signal. It was his intention to permit the party, which was 
expected, to pass and then fire upon the rear, hoping thus to 
drive it down the road toward his own camp and, following 
rapidly, capture it. When it arrived, however, about twenty- 
five strong, the officer in command halted it before it reached 
the point where we lay, but at a distance of not more than 
thirty feet from us, so that we could distinctly hear every 
word which was uttered. The officer in command talked 
with his guide for some minutes, sending men to reconnoiter 
upon each side of the road in the meantime. At length the 
officer ordered his men to enter the little yard, and they came 
right up to the fence just upon the opposite side from our 
position. Captain Morgan shouted the word "Now," and 
each man arose and fired one barrel of his gun. The roar 
and the flash so near must have been terrible to men taken 
completely by surprise. The officer fell immediately, and 
his party, panic-stricken, fled toward their camp. Another 
volley was delivered upon them as they ran. A chain picket 
had been established between the point where this happened 
and the camp at the asylum ; and we could hear shots fired 
at rapid intervals, for minutes, as the fleeing party passed the 
men on post. Several wounded men fell in the road after 
they had fled a short distance. 

A short time before he left La Vergne, Captain Morgan 
selected fifteen men for an expedition to Nashville. Avoid- 
ing the high roads, he made his way through the woods to 
the Lebanon pike, which he struck only a mile from the city. 
The vicinity of the city favored rather than endangered him, 

64 morgan's cavalry. 

and he rode down into the streets without attracting hostile 
observation. A patrol of twenty or thirty cavalry were 
making the round of the streets, and he rode in the rear of 
this party. After reconnoitering for a short time, he de- 
termined on his plan of operations. He sent all but five or 
six of his men out into the thickets, a short distance from 
the city, and, with those whom he kept, he made his way, 
dismounted and leading the horses along the river bank, 
until he came near the reservoir about opposite to which, and 
a little out in the river, a steamboat was anchored. This 
boat was one which was in the employ of the Federal Gov- 
ernment. It was Captain Morgan's desire to set her on fire 
and let her drift down into the midst of a number of other 
transports, which lay a few hundred yards below and were 
crowded with troops, hoping she might fire them also. 
Three gallant young fellows volunteered to do the work and 
boarded the boat in an old canoe, which was found, bottom 
upward, on the shore. They fired her, but could not cut her 
adrift, as she was made fast at stem and stern with chain 
cables, and thus the best part of the plan was frustrated. The 
work was done in full view and notice of the troops on the 
other transports, and the engineer and workmen, on board 
of the boat, were brought to the shore. The names of the 
young men, or rather boys, who did this, were Warfield, 
Garrett and Buckner — the latter was soon afterward killed 
at Shiloh. The canoe was so unmanageable that its crew 
came near falling into the hands of the enemy — but accident 
favored them at the most perilous moment. A long line of 
panel fence had drifted out into the river, one end still being 
attached to the bank. When their paddles failed them in the 
swift current they fortunately came in reach of this, and 
were enabled to pull in by it to the shore. As soon as 
the land was gained all remounted their horses, watched for 
a while the rising flames and the consternation of the fleet, 
and then, with three cheers for Morgan, rode rapidly to re- 
join their comrades. 

Cavalry was sent in pursuit but was left far behind. Cap- 
tain Morgan went straight across the country to the Mur- 

morgan's cavalry. 65 

freesboro pike. As he gained it he encountered a small body 
of Federal cavalry, attacked and drove it into town. He 
lost only one man, but he was a capital soldier, true 
and gallant Peter Atherton, one of the bravest men I ever 

He got back to La Vergne about twelve at night. After 
the thorough and final evacuation of Murfreesboro Captain 
Morgan withdrew to that place with his command. He al- 
most directly afterward sent the bulk of it to the Shelbyville 
and Nashville road, with instructions to encamp about 
twenty miles from Nashville, and picket and scout the adja- 
cent country and all the neighboring roads. He retained 
with him at Murfreesboro about forty of his own men, and 
some fifty of Colonel Wirt Adams' regiment of cavalry un- 
der command of Lieutenant Colonel Wood of that regiment. 
This officer was exceedingly fond of the sort of service 
which Morgan was performing, and had been with him con- 
stantly for ten or twelve days. He preferred to remain with 
and report to him, although his superior in rank, rather than 
accompany his own regiment on the retreat of the army and 
see no active work. 

A day or two after he had made this disposition of the 
command, Captain Morgan taking with him thirty-two of 
the men he had kept at Murfreesboro, penetrated by bridle 
paths and traces through the woods, to the immediate 
vicinity of the enemy's encampments at the Lunatic Asylum. 

At this time, Mitchell's entire brigade was encamped there. 
Stationing his men in the thickets along the road, at various 
points, Captain Morgan went systematically to work to catch 
every thing that should come into sight. There was, of 
course, a great deal of passing to and from the headquarters 
of the commanding officers and between the various camps. 
No one anticipated danger there, and stragglers, couriers, 
escorts, and guards, went carelessly and unsuspectingly 
along, into the same bag. In the course of an hour or two 
eighty odd prisoners were taken. Colonel Wood went off 
with twenty-eight of them, and, by some oversight, sixty 

66 morgan's cavalry. 

were started to Murfreesboro, later, guarded by only ten 
men. A number of wagons had been also captured and 
burned. The teams were used to mount the prisoners. One 
staff officer was captured and sent off with the large batch 
of prisoners. Captain Morgan remained behind with one 
man, after he had sent off all the others. As the number of 
passengers fell off, he rode down the road with his com- 
panion, dressed like himself in a blue overcoat, to a point 
where a guard of ten men were stationed under a sergeant 
for some purpose. He placed himself between them and 
their guns, made his follower put his pistol to the head of 
the sergeant and began to rate them for neglect of duty. 
He represented himself as a Federal officer of high rank 
and reminded them sternly and reproachfully that such care- 
less guard as they were then keeping had enabled Morgan 
to play all of his tricks. They had been careless and were 
overwhelmed with just shame and mortification at his 
rebuke. He at length ordered them all under arrest, and 
taking the sergeant's weapons from him and leaving the 
guns stacked, marched the whole party away. They were 
under the impression that they were going to Mitchell's 
headquarters, but he got them mounted and carried them to 
Murfreesboro. In the meantime the smoke from the 
wagons which were burned within half a mile of Mitchell's 
headquarters attracted attention and led to inquiry, and it 
was not long before what was going on was discovered. 
Troops were at once dispatched to put a stop to the mis- 
chief and beat off or follow the perpetrators. The Fourth 
Ohio got on the track of the party guarding the sixty 
prisoners, and, as its progress was necessarily slow, it was 
soon overtaken. Nothing could be done but release the 
prisoners and run for it, and the whole escort went off in 
rapid flight. One prisoner had, by a strange mistake, been 
allowed to retain a loaded gun. As one of the guard who 
had been in the extreme rear of the column dashed past this 
man, the latter fired and grazed his face. The other turned 
in his saddle, fired and shot his unexpected assailant dead. 
The pursuers had gotten close before they had been per- 

morgan's cavalry. 67 

ceived, and they pressed the chase vigorously. Over fences 
and gulches, through fields and thickets, as hard as their 
horses could go, fled the one party and followed the other 
for ten miles. One of our men was killed, two or three 
wounded, and as many captured. Thirty-eight prisoners 
were secured by Morgan, twenty-eight brought off by Wood, 
and ten captured and escorted by himself. 

On the evening of the same day a party of eighteen 
men were dispatched from the camp on the Shelbyville 
road to push as close to Nashville as possible and learn 
the position of the Federal troops in that quarter. I was 
myself in command of the party, and had an accurate 
knowledge of the points at which guards and pickets had 
been previously stationed. On arriving in the vicinity 
of these points — around which, without creating an alarm, 
it was desirable to pass, in order to get near to the en- 
campments and observe them closely — they were found 
unoccupied. The party moved some three miles farther 
down the road without coming upon an enemy, although 
a day or two before the picket posts had been thick in 
this quarter. 

It was apparent that some plan for our benefit had 
caused this change, and unusual caution became neces- 
sary. I had hoped to find some officers quartered at the 
houses well in the rear of the reserve pickets, where they 
would believe themselves secure, and to capture them, 
but I now approached the houses, not with the expecta- 
tion of making prisoners, but of getting information. 
None of the citizens in that neighborhood had ever seen 
any man in my party and they would tell nothing, but 
their alarm at seeing us and evident anxiety to get rid of 
us, showed plainly that they knew of the proximity of 
danger. At length, when in about six hundred yards of 
the cross-roads near "Flat Rock," four miles from Nash- 
ville, and where it was confidently reported by our in- 
formants that McCook's division was encamped, I halted 
and secreted men and horses in the thick brush on the 
right hand side of the road, and, with the guide, went for- 

68 morgan's cavalry. 

ward on foot about a quarter of a mile until I suddenly 
heard the challenge of a picket. I judged from the words 
I caught that it was the officer of the day making his 
rounds. Soon a negro came down the road toward us 
whom we caught and questioned. He answered very 
glibly, and evinced too little fear not to excite suspicion 
that he came out to be captured with a made-up tale. He 
said that there were ten men on picket at the cross-roads. 
As a large encampment was only a few hundred yards on 
the other side of this point his story did not seem credible. 
However, we had at last found an enemy- 
Leaving five men to take care of the horses in the 
thicket where they were concealed, I carried the others 
through a wide meadow on the right of the road which 
we had traveled (the Shelbyvllle and Nashville pike) to 
the road which crossed it at "Flat Rock," striking the 
latter about two hundred yards from the point of intersec- 
tion. I was convinced that the withdrawal of the pickets 
was part of a plan to entrap just such scouting parties as 
ours, and that a strong force was in ambush at the cross- 
roads. There was little hope of accomplishing the ob- 
jects of the expedition, but the trap could, at least, be 
sprung, and there was a chance of surprising the ambus- 
cade. My men were armed with shot-guns and pistols, 
the proper weapons for such an affair. I ordered them 
to follow me in single-file in the direction of the enemy, 
instructing them to hold their fire until we were chal- 
lenged, and to then discharge their weapons, and, with- 
out stopping to reload, make their way back to the 
horses. The moon had just gone down as we began to 
move slowly down the road. We made little noise, and 
were soon convinced by a chorus of coughing which 
broke on our ears as we neared them that a pretty good 
crowd was before us. When we had almost reached the 
point where the roads cross, a sergeant, with five or six 
men at his back, sprang up, so near to us that I could 
have touched him by making another step, and ordered 
"halt" in a low voice, evidently taking us for friends. Our 

morgan's cavalry. 69 

answer was a shot and he fell dead. His comrades re- 
turned our fire, and at once a line of men rose from the 
fence corners on the opposite side of the road which we 
had just descended — we had passed them unseen in the 
darkness. Many of them must have been asleep until 
alarmed by the firing. The bulk of the force, however, 
was stationed upon the other road, and, as they sprang up 
at the sudden uproar, and aimed at the blaze of the guns, 
they endangered their own friends more than us. My 
men sank at once upon their knees, and the enemy firing 
wildly and high did not touch one of them. They 
pointed their shot-guns low, and every flash was followed 
by a groan, and, by the quick, vivid light we could see the 
men we hit writhing on the ground. The curses and 
commands of the officers, shouts of the combatants and 
yells of the wounded were mingled together. The 
breadth of the road, only, separated us, and the blaze 
from the guns met. When our weapons were emptied 
we sprang over the fence and ran at top speed for our 
horses. A chain picket which had been posted on the 
left of the Shelbyville road a short distance from it rushed 
forward and opened upon us, and the enemy we had just 
bidden farewell redoubled his fire. When we regained 
the horses we were nearly surrounded. Parties had 
come out from the woods behind us, as we passed down 
the road, and our retreat by the way we had come was 
blocked. Our signals to call in the laggards, as we pre- 
pared to leave, were answered from every direction by 
the enemy. But the woods befriended us, as they had 
often done before, and we escaped under its shelter. On 
that same night a similar adventure befell some Confed- 
erates (I think of Starne's command) on the Franklin 
pike, and some pickets were killed on the side of Nashville 
entirely opposite to that into which all of these roads 
(which have been mentioned) run. Of course every 
thing was attributed to Morgan, and the Federals were 
puzzled and uncertain whether to believe him really 


ubiquitous, or the commander of two or three thousand 

A day or two after these occurrences Morgan went 
with a flag of truce to Mitchell's encampment to endeavor 
to exchange some of his prisoners for his own men who 
had been captured. Colonel Wood, who was with him, 
was asked confidentially how many men Morgan had, and 
was told that the mischief he was doing could only be 
accounted for upon the supposition that he had control of 
a large force. Wood answered, also in confidence, that 
although he had co-operated with Morgan for two or 
three weeks he was entirely ignorant of the strength of 
his command. That he knew, only, that Morgan was 
controlling the motions of men whom he (Morgan) rarely 
saw; and that, although he himself was intimately cogni- 
zant of all that occurred under Morgan's immediate 
supervision, he was frequently astonished by hearing 
from the latter accounts of enterprises which had been 
accomplished by his orders in quarters very remote from 
where he was in person operating. Wood saw the im- 
pression which prevailed and shaped his answers to con- 
firm it. In reality, there were not in the vicinity of Nash- 
ville, at that time, on all sides, more than three hundred 
Confederate soldiers. Of this number, Morgan could 
control only his own three companies and the fifty men 
with Wood, although the others, who were stragglers 
and furloughed men from the Texas Rangers, Starne's, 
McNairy's and other cavalry regiments, often joined him 
upon his expeditions. 

We were thus constantly employed for nearly three 
weeks. It is not easy for one who has had no experience 
of the sort of service I have attempted to describe to un- 
derstand its fascination. To sleep in the greenwood and 
awake to the ever-recurring scout and combat; to steal 
at midnight far within the enemy's lines, and, after stir- 
ring up some big encampment until it buzzed like an an- 
gry hive, hide in the deep shade of the neighboring forest 
and listen while the throbbing "long roll" makes the air 

morgan's cavalry. 71 

shake and the leaves quiver with its resonant thunder. 
Such amusements do not commend themselves to staid 
and respectable age, but are strangely attractive to ad- 
venturous youth. 

The country around Nashville is admirably adapted to 
such service. It is one of the most fertile regions of 
Middle Tennessee, unsurpassed in productiveness. Yet 
teeming as it was with every crop the farmer raises, one 
who at the time of which I write, rode along the turnpikes 
which enter Nashville from every direction, might have 
thought that a comparatively small proportion of the soil 
was in cultivation. A dense growth of timber stretched, 
sometimes for miles, along the roads and extended back 
from them to a considerable distance. The cedar glades 
were extensive, but penetrated by numerous roads and 
paths. Springs and water courses were frequent. It 
was a beautiful country and the paradise of partisan 

Two or three days after the flag of truce expedition, 
Morgan undertook one in a quarter altogether different 
from that in which he had been recently employed. It 
was time that in accordance with his instructions he 
should rejoin the army, but he desired to leave an impres- 
sion of his ubiquity that might be subsequently useful. 

Upon the north side of the Cumberland, and about 
eight miles from it in a direct line, is the little town of 
Gallatin, in Sumner county, Tennessee. It is situated 
on the Louisville and Nashville road, about thirty miles 
from Nashville. This place was one of no military im- 
portance at that time, but was right upon the line of com- 
munication between Louisville and Nashville — the roads 
running from Kentucky, as well as the railroad, all pass- 
ing through it— and the line of telegraph. It is about 
fifty miles from Murfreesboro, by the most direct route. 
Morgan resolved to hold this place for a day or two, and 
get the benefit of the "communication" himself. He 
left Murfreesboro about midday, passed through Leba- 
non that evening, and encamped for the night near that 


place. Crossing the Cumberland next morning at Canoe 
branch ferry, he reached Gallatin about 10 o'clock. He 
found the town ungarrisoned, two or three clerks to take 
care of unimportant stores, and a telegraph operator, con- 
stituting all the force there was to oppose him. The citi- 
zens of this place were always strongly attached to the 
Confederate cause and devoted friends of Morgan and 
his command — for which they subsequently suffered no 
little — and they received him enthusiastically. Desiring 
the latest information from Nashville, Morgan, accom- 
panied by Colonel Wood, went straight to the telegraph 
office, where they were kindly received by the operator, 
to whom they introduced themselves as Federal officers 
just from the interior of Kentucky. The operator imme- 
diately placed himself in communication with Nashville 
and got the last news for their benefit. The conversation 
then turned on Morgan. "The clerk of the lightning" 
said that he had not yet disturbed them at Gallatin, but 
that he might be expected any day: "However," he con- 
tinued, "let him come. I, for one, am ready for him." 
He told the story of Morgan's coming to Mitchell's lines 
with the flag of truce (which, it seems, had raised great 
excitement) and declared that he ought to have been 
shot then and there. "Had I been there," said he, 
fiercely, and brandishing his revolver, "the scoundrel 
would have never left alive." 

"Give me that pistol," Morgan said quietly; and, taking 
it, much to the fellow's surprise. "I am Morgan." 

An engine and a few cars, found standing at the depot, 
were taken possession of — the cars were immediately 
burned. Morgan got on the engine with two or three 
companions and ran some miles up the railroad to visit 
two or three points of interest. He desired especially to 
ascertain if the tunnel could readily be destroyed, but 
found that it would be a work of more time than he had 
to spare. While he was absent, several Federal officers 
and soldiers came into the town and were made prisoners. 
When he returned, the engine was run off the track, over 

morgan's cavalry. 73 

a steep bank, and destroyed. On the next morning he 
sent the bulk of his command across the river again, with 
instructions to remain near and guard the ferry. He, 
himself, with ten or fifteen men, remained at Gallatin two 
days longer with the hope of catching some of the trains. 

Immediately after his return to Murfreesboro, he set 
out to rejoin the army, and met at Shelbyville that por- 
tion of his command which had been encamped on the 
Shelbyville and Nashville road, and which, in obedience 
to his orders, had also repaired to the former place. 

Here he remained for two or three days and then 
marched on in the track of the army. While at Shelby- 
ville, the first and only causeless stampede of our pickets 
and false alarm to the camps which occurred during our 
Squadron organization took place. Ten or fifteen men 
were posted on picket some eight miles from the town 
toward Nashville near a small bridge, at the southern end 
of which the extreme outpost vidette stood. From tales 
told by the citizens, these pickets had conceived the idea 
that the enemy contemplated an attack to surprise and 
capture them, and (perhaps for the very reason that they 
had so often played the same game themselves) they be- 
came very nervous about it. Late in the night, two men 
came down the road from toward Nashville in a buggy, 
and drove rapidly upon the bridge without heeding the 
vidette's challenge. He, taking them to be the enemy, 
fired both barrels of his gun and fled to alarm the other 
videttes and his comrades at the base. The whole party 
became so alarmed by his representation of the immense 
number and headlong advance of the enemy, that, with- 
out stopping to fight or reconnoiter, they all came in a 
hand-gallop to camp. The officer in charge sent the 
vidette who had given the alarm, in advance, to report to 
me. I immediately got the command under arms and 
then questioned him. He stated that the enemy's cavalry 
came on, at the charge, in column of fours ; that they paid 
no attention to his challenge, and that when he fired they 
dashed at him, making the air ring with their yells and 


curses. He said that "the road seemed perfectly blue 
for more than half a mile," so great was their number. 

It was a moonless night, and a slight rain was falling, 
making the darkness intense. I asked him if he might 
not have been deceived and if he was not scared. "No, 
sir," said he, "not a bit, but I was somewhat arrytated." 

Leaving Shelbyville, we marched through Fayetteville 
to Huntsville ; everywhere along the route the people 
flocked to see Morgan, and his progress was one con- 
tinual ovation. When we reached Huntsville, the most 
beautiful town in Alabama, we were received with the 
kindness and hospitality which characterize that gener- 
ous, warm-hearted population. Huntsville, the birth- 
place of Morgan, greeted him like a mother indeed. 

Crossing the Tennessee river at Decatur and marching 
just in the track of the army, we reached Byrnesville, a 
few miles from Corinth, on the 3d of April, and found 
there the division of General Breckenridge, to which we 
were attached. The whole army was then astir and pre- 
paring to march to attack the enemy, who lay at Pittsburg 
Landing, on the southern bank of the Tennessee some 
twenty miles from Corinth. 

Morgan's services were much talked of, and he was 
complimented by General Johnston in terms that were 
very grateful to him. He was given the commission of 
colonel, to take effect from the 4th of April, and he re- 
ceived (what he valued much more highly) an assurance, 
or what he construed to be such, that he would be per- 
mitted to act independently again and follow his favor- 
ite service with a stronger force and upon a larger scale. 


Battle of Shiloh — Death of Albert Sidney Johnston — Morgan 
made Colonel — Expedition into Tennessee — Success at Pu 
laski Followed by Defeat at Lebanon — "Black Bess" — Dash 
on Cave City. 

On the 3rd of April, the army, leaving its canton- 
ments around Corinth, commenced its advance and the heads 
of the columns were directed toward Pittsburg Landing, 
on the Tennessee river, where, unconscious of the gath- 
ering storm, lay the Federal host under General Grant 
which had conquered at Donelson. Flushed with that 
victory and insolent with triumph, the enemy rested for 
the long march of invasion which he believed would lead 
him (unchecked, even if opposed) to easy, speedy, and 
decisive conquest. No thought of danger to himself 
disturbed these pleasant anticipations. The suggestion 
that an attack from the Confederate forces at Corinth 
was imminent would have been dismissed as the idlest and 
weakest of apprehensions. 

The different corps moved from their respective posi- 
tions, on the railroads which enter Corinth, by the most 
direct roads to the point indicated for their concentration. 

General Johnston had declared some weeks previously, 
with prophetic judgment, that upon that very spot "the 
great battle of the Southwest would be fought." 

Breckenridge's division, tx> which Morgan's Squadron 
was now attached, moved from Byrnesville. The roads 
were narrow and miry, and were not improved by a heavy 
rain which fell during the march and by the passage of 
successive trains of wagons and batteries of artillery. 
The march was slow and toilsome. The infantry labored 
along with mud-clogged feet, casting sour looks and can- 
did curses at the cavalry and couriers who bespattered 

y6 morgan's cavalry. 

them. The artillery often stuck fast, and the struggling 
horses failed to move the pieces, until the cannoneers ap- 
plied themselves and pushed and strained at the heavy 

On the 5th, about three or four in the afternoon, every- 
thing was concentrated upon the ground where General 
Johnston proposed to establish his line, and the disposition 
of the forces, in accordance with the plan of battle, was at 
once commenced. On account of some accident, or mistake, 
this concentration was effected one day later than had been 
contemplated, causing a corresponding delay in the attack. 
It has frequently been asserted that this was occasioned by 
the failure of General Polk's corps to arrive at the appointed 

General Polk's report demonstrates the injustice of this 
statement, and it is probable that the condition of the roads 
was the sole cause of the delay. A want of promptness upon 
the part of General Polk no doubt would have produced a 
suspension of the attack. A corps so strong and efficient 
could have been ill-spared from an army, already inferior in 
numbers to the antagonist it was about to assail, and the 
absence of the brave old Bishop from the field would have 
been, of itself, a serious loss. This delay was the cause of 
grave apprehensions to many of the Confederate generals, 
and was really unfortunate. 

It was known that Buell was marching rapidly to the sup- 
port of Grant, and General Johnston wished to crush the lat- 
ter before their junction was effected. 

General Beauregard was of the opinion that the attack, 
having been so long delayed, ought to be abandoned alto- 
gether ; that it would now be extremely hazardous ; and 
that the safety of the army would be compromised if it did 
not retire promptly to Corinth. 

General Johnston listened courteously to every argument, 
but was moved by none to relinquish his plan. His resolu- 
tion to fight, after placing his army in front of the enemy, 
was fixed. He believed, "the offensive once assumed, ought 

morgan's cavalry. jj 

to be maintained at all hazards." He trusted that vigor and 
audacity would enable him to accomplish victory on the first 
day, before the fresh troops came, and his designs were too 
profoundly considered, his gallant faith in his soldiers too 
earnest, for his purpose to be shaken. In answer to an anx- 
ious inquiry from his aide, Colonel William Preston, he said, 
quietly, "I would fight them were they a million." 

The ground selected for battle was that inclosed between 
Owl and Lick creeks, which run nearly parallel with each 
other, and empty into the Tennessee river. The flanks of 
the two armies rested upon these little streams, and the front 
of each was just the distance, at their respective positions, 
between the two creeks. The Confederate front was, con- 
sequently, a little more than three miles long. The distance 
between the creeks widens somewhat, as they approach the 
river, and the Federal army had more ground upon which 
to deploy. The position which the enemy occupied next 
morning was three or four miles from the river, and his ad- 
vance camp was perhaps a mile southward of Shiloh Church. 
He had, as yet, established no line ; the attack next morning 
took him completely by surprise, and he formed after the 
fight had commenced. 

General Johnston's effective strength, including all the 
forces available for that battle, was about forty thousand 
men. That of the enemy was, perhaps, forty-five thousand. 
The advantages of attack and surprise would, General 
Johnston thought, more than counterbalance his numerical 
inferiority. If Buell brought reinforcements to his oppo- 
nents, by forced marches, in advance of his army, he would 
feel their effect only in a stronger line and more stubborn 
resistance upon the front; his flanks would be safe in any 
event. The array of his forces evinced a resolution to break 
through and crush, at any cost, whatever should confront 
him in the narrow space where the whole conflict would be 

The troops were bivouacked that night upon the ground 
which it was intended that they should occupy in line of bat- 
tle. No disposition which could be made that evening was 

y8 morgan's cavalry. 

delayed; every precaution was taken to guard against a 
further procrastination of the attack. The men lay down 
to sleep in the order in which they were to rush upon the 

General Hardee had command of the first line, General 
Bragg of the second, and General Polk of the third. General 
Hardee's line extended from the one creek to the other, and 
as his corps (fully deployed) could not properly occupy the 
entire distance, he was reinforced by a fine brigade under 
Brigadier-General Gladden. To Hardee was given the honor 
of commencing the battle, and he was ordered to push his 
whole line rapidly forward at early dawn. General Bragg's 
line was formed similarly to General Hardee's, and about a 
quarter of a mile in its rear. Bragg was ordered to advance 
simultaneously with Hardee, and to support him when he 
needed assistance. Then, at the distance of eight hundred 
yards, came General Polk's corps, not deployed but formed 
in column of brigades. General Breckinridge's division 
(over six thousand strong) constituted the reserve, and was 
close in the rear of Polk's corps. The cavalry was promis- 
cuously disposed ; indeed, no one in authority seemed to 
think it could win the battle. Morgan's Squadron was 
formed with the Kentucky troops, and occupied the extreme 
left of Breckinridge's division. This disposition of the 
forces and the energetic conduct of the Confederate com- 
manders explain the striking features of the battle, which 
have been so often remarked' — the methodical success of the 
Confederates, upon the first day, the certainty with which 
they won their way forward against the most determined 
resistance; the "clock-like" regularity of their advance, the 
desperate struggle, the Federal retreat, repeated again and 
again through the day. An army moving to attack (an 
enemy, surprised and unprepared), in three lines supported 
by a reserve, and with its flanks perfectly protected, ought 
to have delivered crushing and continuous blows. Such a 
formation, directed with consummate skill and the finest 
nerve in a commander, of troops who believed that to fight 
would be to win, promised an onset well nigh irresistible. 

morgan's cavalry. 79 

The afternoon wore away and no sign in the enemy's 
camps indicated that he had discovered our presence. The 
night fell, and the stern preparations for the morrow hav- 
ing been all completed, the army sank to rest. The forest 
was soon almost as still as before it had been tenanted by 
the hosts of war. But, before the day broke, the army was 
astir; the bugles sounded the reveille on all sides, and the 
long lines began to form. About 5 o'clock the first shot rang 
on the front — another and another succeeding, as our skir- 
mishers pressed on, until the musketry grew into the crack- 
ling, labored sound which precedes the roar of real battle. 
The troops seemed excited to frenzy by the sound. It was 
the first fight in which a majority of them had ever been 
engaged, and they had, as yet, seen and suffered nothing to 
abate the ardor with which the high-spirited young fellows 
panted for battle. Every one who witnessed that scene — 
the marshaling of the Confederate army for attack upon the 
morning of the 6th of April — must remember, more dis- 
tinctly than anything else, the glowing enthusiasm of the 
men, their buoyancy and spirited impatience to close with 
the enemy As each regiment formed upon the ground 
where it had bivouacked, the voice of its commander might 
be heard as he spoke high words of encouragement to his 
men, and it would ring clearer as he appealed to their regi- 
mental pride and bade them think of the fame they might 
win. When the lines began to advance, the wild cheers 
which arose made the woods stir as if with the rush of a 
mighty wind. Nowhere was there any thought of fear; 
everywhere were the evidences of impetuous and deter- 
mined valor 

For some distance the woods were open and clear of un- 
dergrowth, and the troops passed through, preserving their 
array with little difficulty ; but as the point where the fight 
between the pickets had commenced was neared the timber 
became dwarfed into scrubby brush, and at some places 
dense thickets impeded the advance. The ground, too, grew 
rugged and difficult of passage in unbroken line. Frequent 
halts to reform and dress the ranks became necessary, and 

80 morgan's cavalry. 

at such times General Johnston's magnificent battle order 
was read to the regiments, and its manly, heroic language 
was listened to with the feeling it was intended to evoke. 
The gray, clear morning was, ere long, enlivened with a 
radiant sunrise. As the great light burst in full splendor 
above the horizon, sending brilliancy over the scene, many a 
man thought of the Great Conqueror's augury and pointed 
in exultation and hope to the "Sun of Shiloh." Breckin- 
ridge's division went into the fight last, and, of course, saw 
or heard a great deal of it before becoming actively engaged. 
Not far off, on the left center, the fight soon grew earnest, 
as Hardee dashed resolutely on; the uneasy, broken rattle 
of the skirmishers gave way to the sustained volleys of the 
lines and the artillery joined in the clamor, while away on 
the right the voice of the strife swelled hoarser and angrier, 
like the growl of some wounded monster — furious at bay. 
Hardee's line carried all before it. At first it met not even 
the semblance of a check. Following close and eager upon 
the fleeing pickets, it burst upon the startled inmates as they 
emerged from their tents, giving them no time to form, 
driving them in rapid panic, bayoneting the dilatory. 
On through the camp swept, together, pursuers and pursued. 
But now the alarm was thoroughly given, the "long roll" 
and the bugle were calling the Federals to arms ; all through 
their thick encampments they were hastily forming. 

As Hardee, close upon the haunches of the foe he had first 
started, broke into another camp, a long line of steel and 
flame met him, staggering, and, for a little while, stopping 
his advance. But his gallant corps was still too fresh for an 
enemy not yet recovered from the enervating effects of sur- 
prise to hold it back long. For a while it writhed and surged 
before the stern barrier suddenly erected in its front, and 
then, gathering itself, dashed irresistibly forward. The 
enemy was beaten back, but the hardy Western men who 
filled his ranks (although raw and for the first time under 
fire) could not be forced to positive flight. They had 
formed, and at this stage of the battle they could not be 
routed. They had little discipline, but plenty of staunch 

morgan's cavalry. 8 1 

courage. Soon they turned for another stand and the Con- 
federates were, at once, upon them. Again they gave way 
but strewed the path of their stubborn retreat with many a 
corpse in gray as well as in blue. At half past 7 the first 
lines began to give signs of exhaustion, and its march over 
the rough ground while struggling with the enemy had thin- 
ned and impaired it. It was time for Bragg's corps to come 
to the relief, and that superb line now moved up in serried 
strength. The first sign of slackening upon the part of the 
Confederates seemed to add vigor to the enemy's resistance. 
But bravely as they fought, they never recovered from the 
stun of the surprise. Their half of the battle was out of 
joint at the beginning and it was never gotten right during 
that day. They were making desperate efforts to retrieve 
their lost ground when Bragg's disciplined tornado burst 
upon them. The shock was met gallantly but in vain. An- 
other bloody grapple was followed by another retreat of the 
Federals, and again our line moved on. 

Those who were in that battle will remember these suc- 
cessive contests, followed by short periods of apparent in- 
action, going on all the day. To use the illustration of one 
well acquainted with its plan and incidents : "It went on like 
the regular stroke of some tremendous machine." There 
would be a rapid charge and fierce fight — the wild yell would 
announce a Confederate success — then would ensue a com- 
parative lull, broken again in a few minutes, and the charge, 
struggle, and horrible din would recommence. 

About half past 10 Polk's corps prepared to take part in 
the fight. He had previously, by order personally given by 
General Johnston (who was all the time in the front), sent 
one brigade to reinforce General Bragg's right where the 
second line had been most hotly engaged. He had also sent, 
by order of General Beauregard, one brigade to the left. 
The fight at this time was joined all along the line and urged 
with greater fury than at any period of the day. Almost im- 
mediately after parting with these two brigades, General 
Polk became engaged with the remainder of his corps. The 
enemy had, now, disposed his entire force for resistance — 

82 morgan's cavalry. 

the men fought as if determined not to accept defeat — and 
their stern, tenacious leader was not the man to relinquish 
hope, although his lines had been repeatedly broken and the 
ground was piled with his slain. The corps of Hardee, 
Bragg, and Polk were now striving abreast or mingled with 
each other. 

In reading the reports of the Confederate generals, fre- 
quent allusion will be found to regiments and brigades fight- 
ing without "head or orders." One commander would 
sometimes direct the movements of troops belonging to an- 
other. At this phase of the struggle the narrative should 
dwell more upon "the biographies of the regiments than the 
history of the battle." But the wise arrangement of the lines 
and the instructions given subordinate commanders insured 
harmonious action and the desired result. 

Each brigade commander was ordered (when he became 
disengaged), to seek and attack the nearest enemy, to press 
the flank of every stubborn hostile force which his neighbors 
could not move, and at all hazards to press forward. Gen- 
eral Johnston seemed to have adopted the spirit of the motto, 
"When fighting in the dark, strike out straight." He more 
than once assumed command of brigades which knew not 
what to do and led them to where they could fight with 
effect. Our successes were not won without costly sacrifices, 
and the carnage was lavish upon both sides. 

While this was going on in front Morgan's Squadron 
moved along with Breckinridge's division, and we listened 
to the hideous noise and thought how much larger the affair 
was than the skirmishes on Green river and around Nash- 
ville. We soon learned to distinguish when the fight was 
sharp and hotly contested and when our lines were triumph- 
antly advancing, and we wondered if those before us would 
finish the business before we got in. 

We had not marched far before we saw bloody indications 
of the fierce work that had been done upon the ground over 
which we were passing. The dead and the wounded were 
thick in the first camp and, thence, onward. Some of the 
corpses of men killed by artillery showed ghastly mutilation. 

morgan's cavalry. 83 

In getting up our glowing anticipation of the day's pro- 
gram we had left these items out of the account, and we 
mournfully recognized the fact than many who seek military 
distinction will obtain it posthumously, if they get it at all. 
The actual sight of a corpse immensely chills an abstract 
love of glory. The impression soon wears off, however, and 
the dead are very little noticed. Toward 10 or 11 o'clock 
we wandered away from the infantry to which we had been 
attached, and getting no orders or instructions, devoted our- 
selves to an examination of the many interesting scenes of 
the field which we viewed with keen relish. The camps 
whence the enemy had been driven attracted especial and 
admiring attention. There was a profusion of all the neces- 
saries, and many of the luxuries of military life. How we 
wondered that an army could have ever permitted itself 
to be driven away from them. 

While we were curiously inspecting the second or third 
encampment and had gotten closer than at any time pre- 
viously to the scene of the fighting, a single incident inter- 
rupted, for a moment, the pleasure of the investigation. 
Some of the enemy's shells were bursting over our heads, 
and as we were practically ignorant of artillery, we were at 
first puzzled to know what they were. In the general 
thunder of the fight no special reports could be heard to lead 
to a solution of the particular phenomena. Suddenly a short 
yell of mingled indignation and amazement announced that 
one of the party had some practical information on the sub- 
ject. He had been struck by a fragment on the shoulder, in- 
flicting a severe gash and bruise. Not knowing how the mis- 
sile had reached him, he seemed to think himself a very ill- 
treated man. 

Just as Breckinridge's division was going into action, 
about 12 M., we came upon the left of it, where the Ken- 
tucky troops were formed. The bullets were beginning to 
fly thick about us. Simultaneously the Squadron and the 
regiment nearest to us struck up the favorite song of the 
Kentuckians, "Cheer, Boys, Cheer." The effect was animat- 
ing beyond all description. 

84 morgan's cavalry. 

About this time, while the right and left of the Confeder- 
ate line was still pressing on, the left center met with a 
serious check before a strong position which the enemy held 
tenaciously. The Federal troops at this point were posted 
upon an eminence, covered with underbrush, and in front 
of which was a ravine. Eighteen or twenty pieces of artil- 
lery, strongly supported, were planted on this hill, and were 
playing furiously For perhaps an hour Hardee's efforts to 
advance were foiled. The position was taken, I believe, 
only after it had been enfiladed. Our Squadron approached 
this point while the advance was thus checked and General 
Hardee sent an aide to learn "what cavalry that was?" 
When told that it was Morgan's he expressed pleasure and 
said that he would send it "to take that battery " This was 
a truly gratifying compliment, but we received it with so- 
briety ; and as we formed for the charge, which we were 
told would soon be ordered, indulged in no extravagant ex- 
pressions of joy. I am even inclined to believe that we were 
not so sanguine of the result as General Hardee seemed to 
be. The General sat on his horse near Shoup's gallant bat- 
tery, which was replying, but ineffectually, to the vicious 
rain of canister and shell which poured from the hill. He 
seemed indifferent to the hot fire, but very anxious to take 
those guns. 

We had never seen anything like that before. We had 
occasionally been fired upon by a single piece of artillery, 
when we had closely approached the enemy's encampments 
on Green river ; and we used to think that hardly fair. Now 
the blaze and "volleyed thunder" of the guns on that hill 
seemed to our excited imaginations like the output of a vol- 
cano in active operation. An hour or two previously, a 
young fellow, belonging to some Confederate battery which 
had been disabled, had asked permission to serve with us for 
the rest of the day. He was riding an artillery horse and 
had picked up a rifle and a cartridge box on the field, so I 
put him in the ranks. While we were expecting the order 
to charge, my eye happened to fall on this youngster, and it 
occurred to me that I might get from him valuable informa- 

morgan's cavalry. 85 

tion germane to the business on hand. I therefore took him 
aside, and remarked : "You say you have served in the ar- 
tillery for a year and you ought to know a good deal about 
it. Now, General Hardee is going to order us to charge 
that Yankee battery yonder, and I want you to post me 
about the way to charge a battery." 

"Why, good Lord, Lieutenant!" he exclaimed with much 
emphasis. "I wouldn't do it, if I was you. Why your 
blamed little cavalry won't be deuce high agin' them guns." 

I became angry, because I was not feeling hopeful or com- 
fortable, and his prediction "mingled strangely with my 

"Haven't I told you," I said, "that General Hardee will 
order us to take those guns ? Now, don't express any opin- 
ion, but answer my question, 'What's the best way to charge 
a battery?'" 

He looked me squarely in the eye for a few seconds, and 
then said very earnestly : "Lieutenant, to tell you the God's 
truth, thar' ain't no good way to charge a battery " 

The order to charge was not given : I will confess, 
greatly to our relief. At the first slackening of the fire some 
of our infantry regiments dashed forward successfully; but 
the enemy quitted the position because they were about to be 
surrounded. Several of the guns were taken. 

The right was now checked, meeting the fiercest resist- 
ance. The left and center bore rapidly forward. 

It seems to have been the Confederate plan of battle to 
press strongest on the right and drive the enemy down the 
river, "leaving the left open for him to escape," as General 
Bragg put it. But it was already apparent that he was being 
hemmed in and forced, from all sides, toward Pittsburg 

After concluding not to have him charge the battery, Gen- 
eral Hardee ordered Colonel Morgan to proceed rapidly to 
the extreme left and "charge the first enemy he saw." The 
left of our line was then moving so briskly forward that, 
having to go by a narrow bridle path, we did not reach the 
point indicated — the extreme left— until nearly 2 o'clock 

86 morgan's cavalry. 

in the afternoon, or about that time. Just as we then ap- 
proached our line, we saw a body of men dressed in blue 
uniforms, performing some strange evolutions. While they 
were clad much like the enemy, there were troops, evidently 
Confederate, nearby, which did not seem disturbed by their 
presence. Colonel Morgan ordered a platoon of Company 
A to dismount and fire on them if satisfied that they were 
Federals. We drew near and had a good view of them. A 
little man, flourishing a very big saber, was directing their 
movements with off-hand eloquence. We did not fire be- 
cause, although not understanding what he said, we thought 
from the volubility of the speaker and the imprecatory sound 
of the language that it was French and that the party were 
Louisianians. This surmise was correct. They were mem- 
bers of Colonel Mouton's fine regiment, the Eighteenth 
Louisiana Infantry. Their uniform cost them clearly before 
the day was over. In addition to the loss received from the 
enemy, they were fired upon by Confederate regiments mis- 
taking them for Federals. It is related that the Louisianians 
finally retaliated, giving for doing so the sound military 
reason : "We fire at anybody what fire at us — God d — m !" 

Shortly after this, we saw this regiment, the Eighteenth 
Louisiana, and a part of the Kentucky infantry brigade 
charge across a wide field on the extreme left of our line. 
A strong force of the enemy was formed in the middle of 
this field (where one of the camps had been established). 
The Confederates rushed so closely upon this line that it 
seemed as if the bayonets must cross before it gave way. 
The volume of musketry in this charge was tremendous. 
When the Federals retreated they still preserved their array 
and went off in excellent order. They frequently faced 
about to fire on their pursuers, who poured continuous vol- 
leys into them; and thus fighting the combatants entered 
the woods beyond. 

When our line had dashed across the field its left flank 
was exposed to attack from any hostile force which might 
approach from that direction. Our Squadron and another 
body of cavalry, which I understood to be a part of the 

morgan's cavalry. 87 

Eighth Texas, had been trying to get to the left of the in- 
fantry. Soon after we had succeeded in doing so, an oppor- 
tunity to actively participate in the battle occurred. As we 
were pressing across the field some Federal skirmishers ap- 
peared in the edge of the woods on its left. They were not 
more than eighty or a hundred yards distant; and at first 
directed their attention more particularly to a Confederate 
battery, which was also crossing the field in the rear of our 
infantry, and were greatly annoying the cannoneers. Col- 
onel Morgan at once ordered the charge and the Squadron 
dashed at full gallop into the woods. The skirmishers ran 
back, but as we forced our way in a crowded mass through 
the thickets, we came suddenly on the regiment to which 
they belonged. Fortunately for us, in scrambling through 
the brush it had lost its compact formation and its line was 
ragged. We got close to them before the Federals fired ; 
they delivered one volley, the blaze seemed to almost leap 
into our faces and the roar was like thunder. The next 
moment we rode right through the line, the men using their 
shot-guns and revolvers effectively. We lost four men 
killed, — Lieutenant James West and Privates Samuel Buck- 
ner and James Ghiselin of Company A, and Private Archie 
Moody, of Company C, — all gallant men and good soldiers. 
Several others were wounded. Twelve of the enemy were 
killed and wounded, and a few made prisoners. The affair 
was over in a minute and the Federals retreated. I was told 
at the time that the Texans also charged on our right. I 
remember that some riderless horses, certainly not our own, 
galloped back over the ground where I lay with the other 
wounded men. of the Squadron; and I supposed that these 
horses belonged to the Texans' killed or wounded. 

Our infantry had pressed on beyond this point and there 
was no Confederate force near except this cavalry. It was 
impossible to conjecture how strong the enemy was just 
here, but Colonel Morgan, fearing that he might come in 
force sufficient to endanger this flank, disposed of his com- 
mand on foot to make all possible resistance in such an 
event. Our skirmishers, thrown forward, could not find 

88 morgan's cavalry. 

him and the receding din of the battle seemed to promise 
perfect safety against all such dangers. 

About half-past I or 2 o'clock occurred the great calamity 
which rendered unavailing all of the sacrifices and successes 
of the day. General Johnston was killed. He had exposed 
himself with almost culpable recklessness. From the com- 
mencement of the fight he had been in the van — cheering 
the struggling men— adding fresh spirit to the charge — stim- 
ulating to new energy the battalions that were checked. His 
clothing had been torn by balls, which were unheeded. 

Once he had ridden along the rear of a brave Arkansas 
regiment which had just recoiled from a terrible fire. 
"Where now," he said, striking some of the men encour- 
agingly upon the shoulder, "are the Arkansas boys who 
boasted that they would fight with their bowie knives? You 
have a nobler weapon in your grasp — will you dare to use 
it?" He spoke to men who could not hear such words in 
vain; they rushed forward and won the position. 

Statham's magnificent brigade had at length faltered. 
General Johnston, bare-headed and with his hand elevated, 
rode out in front of the brigade and called on it to follow- 
His dress, majestic presence, imposing gesture and large 
bay horse, made him a conspicuous mark. A ball pierced 
his leg, severing the artery. He paid no notice to the wound, 
but continued to follow the troops, who, incited by his ex- 
ample, had charged successfully Suddenly he grew faint 
and reeled in his saddle. His staff came to his assistance, 
but too late. They bore him into a ravine for shelter, and in 
a few moments he died. 

Shortly after this great disaster the lines were pressed for- 
ward rapidly again at all points. Our troops were still in- 
stinct with the spirit of the lost leader. His genius had pre- 
pared effects, accomplished after he was gone. The left had 
swept far around; the center, where the latest check had 
been felt, was a little behind; the right driving everything 
before it, when, by hard fighting the resistance opposed to it 
at noon had been overcome, was approaching the river. 

Now the word was passed through the army, '%et every 

morgan's cavalry. 89 

order be forward." In the last determined stand which the 
enemy made, Major General Prentice and two thousand of 
his division were captured. His troops stood until the ad- 
vancing Confederates closed in on two sides and escape had 
become impossible. Our army was now near the river and 
a victory absolutely complete and decisive was just within 
its grasp. The fighting had been hard and our success 
blood-bought but brilliant. For many miles (through his 
encampments, piled up with rich spoils) we had driven the 
enemy. His brave resistance had at length been completely 
broken, and after immense losses he seemed ready to yield. 
It is an indisputable fact that for an hour at least before the 
Confederate advance was checked by order of the command- 
ing general, it was meeting with no sort of check from the 
enemy. The Northern writers, who shortly after the battle 
described it, one and all depicted a scene of utter confusion 
and consternation as prevailing in the Federal army crowded 
upon the bank of the river. Scarcely a semblance of resist- 
ance (according to these writers) was maintained; while 
thousands (all discipline and confidence gone) were pre- 
pared to surrender. Hundreds, unable to force their way 
upon the boats, plunged into the river and were drowned. 

The head of Buell's column commenced to arrive late in 
the afternoon, and the troops were crossed as rapidly as they 
came up. Nelson's division crossed first. The leading bri- 
gade was compelled to force its way through the mass of 
fugitives. On that afternoon the second chance which the 
Confederacy had to win the war was thrown away. 

All night long the huge pieces upon the gunboats thun- 
dered at intervals, with a roar which seemed like that of a 
bursting firmament. They had been opened during the af- 
ternoon, but, on account of the great elevation necessary to 
enable them to shoot over the bluffs, the shells had gone high 
in the air. These huge missiles came screaming louder than 
a steam whistle, striking off the tops of trees and filling the 
air with dense clouds of smoke when they burst, but doing 
no damage. 

During the night little was done to reorganize the Con- 


federate soldiery. Only Bragg's corps maintained its dis- 
cipline. Thousands of stragglers (from the other corps) 
roamed over the field to plunder and riot. The Federal 
generals strained every nerve to repair their disaster. 
The fugitives were collected and placed again in the 
ranks. The boats plied steadily, bringing over Buell's 
fresh and undiscouraged forces, and at 6 o'clock next 
morning the victors were in their turn assailed by an army 
larger than the one they had confronted on the day be- 
fore and half of which was fresh and unwearied. General 
Beauregard disposed his tired troops to receive this 
storm, — and although his line was thin, — weakened (from 
the superb array of the day before) by the dead and 
wounded and those who had straggled from their colors, 
— it could not be driven. 

General Beauregard in his report of the battle says : 

"On his right and center the enemy was repulsed in every effort he 
made with his heavy columns in that quarter of the field. On the left 
our line was weakest, and here the enemy drove on line after line of 
fresh troops with unremitting fury." 

Our troops stood firm, but General Beauregard feared 
that they must eventually break and at 12 M. (all of his 
scanty reserves having been put in) he ordered a with- 
drawal of the line. 

After a repulse of a desperate attack the troops began 
to retire and accomplished the movement without trouble. 
General Beauregard says : 

"The lines of troops established to cover this movement had been 
disposed on a favorable ridge, commanding the ground of Shiloh Church. 
From this position our artillery played upon the woods beyond, but upon 
no visible enemy, and without reply. Soon satisfied that no serious 
pursuit was, or would be, attempted, this last line was withdrawn, and 
never did troops leave a battlefield in better order." 

General Breckinridge (whose heroic conduct on both 
days had almost repaid the Kentuckians — in their pride in 
it — for the loss of the battle) was left as rear guard, just 
in front of the intersection of the Pittsburg and Hamburg 
roads — upon the ground occupied by the army upon Sat- 


urday night. On the next day he was withdrawn three 
miles to Mickey's, and remained there undisturbed for 
five or six days. Our cavalry occupied the ground sev- 
eral miles further to the north. Morgan's Squadron and 
other cavalry commands were posted for more than a 
week upon a portion of the field won from the enemy on 
the first day, during which time only two or three trifling 
skirmishes occurred. 

The army marched to Corinth on the 7th and 8th. 

It is a point conceded now, on all sides, that had the 
Confederate army pursued its success on the evening of 
the first day, the army under General Grant would have 
been annihilated, and Buell never could have crossed the 
river. Had General Johnston survived, the battle would 
have been pressed vigorously to that consummation. 
Then what would have been the situation? The army, 
remaining upon the banks of the Tennessee for a few 
days, would have been reorganized and recovered from 
the exhausting effects of the battle. The slightly 
wounded returning to the ranks would have made the 
muster-roll full thirty thousand effectives. 

Price and Van Dorn coming with about fifteen thou- 
sand and the levies from all quarters, which were hasten- 
ing to Corinth, would have given General Johnston 
nearly sixty thousand infantry. Buell, unable to cross 
the river or to use it for obtaining supplies, his communi- 
cations with Nashville in constant danger, and hourly in- 
terrupted by the five or six thousand cavalry which Gen- 
eral Johnston could have thrown upon them, would have 
been suspended without the ability to obtain foothold or 
prop anywhere. If nothing else could have made him 
retreat, a menace to Nashville, from the troops in East 
Tennessee, would have served the purpose. Then Gen- 
eral Johnston could have crossed the river and the cav- 
alry have been pushed on to operate between Nashville 
and Louisville. General Buell would not have halted to 
fight. With the odds against him, to do that (in the heart 
of a hostile population and far from support) would have 


been too hazardous. But retreat would have been al- 
most as disastrous as defeat and, closely pressed, would 
have resulted in the partial disintegration of his army. 
Military men, who understand the situation and the to- 
pography of the country will concur in the opinion that 
General Buell could not have halted with safety at Nash- 
ville, nor, indeed, until he had reached Munfordsville. 

But the battle of Shiloh was, after all, a Confederate 
success. The army of invasion was crippled and reduced 
to a cautious offensive little better than inactivity. The 
Federal arms were stayed and blunted, and the Southern 
people, reanimated, prepared for fresh and vigorous re- 

When relieved from duty on the field of Shiloh, Colonel 
Morgan sought and obtained permission to dash into 
Tennessee with a force adequate to important results. 
While the army lay in the entrenchments around Corinth, 
which the Federal forces under Halleck were tediously 
approaching, he wished to pounce upon the rich prizes in 
their rear. He assembled the troops with which he was 
about to make the contemplated expedition at Byrnes- 
ville, on or about the 23d of April. 

His own command, Companies A, B and C, respect- 
ively commanded by Lieutenants Sellers, Chadburn and 
Churchill, had been augmented by a fourth company, or 
rather nucleus of a company, some twenty-five strong, 
commanded by Captain Brown — a gallant officer. De- 
tachments from Colonel Wirt Adams' regiment and Mc- 
Nairy's battalion had, also been assigned him. These 
were commanded by his friend, Lieutenant-Colonel 
Wood, and Captain Harris. The entire force at his dis- 
posal numbered three hundred and twenty-five effectives. 
Colonel Morgan was detained at Byrnesville for several 
days, having his horses shod, arms put in order, rations 
cooked, and other necessary arrangements for the expe- 
dition perfected. When all was ready, the command 
commenced its march on the 26th. Extra ammunition 


and rations were carried on pack mules — one being al- 
lowed to each section, or four to a company. 

Passing through Iuka, that day, the command encamped 
six miles from the Tennessee river, and reaching it early 
next morning immediately commenced to cross. The 
river was high, and there was nothing with which to effect 
the crossing but. one boat — a small horse-ferry, capable of 
holding ten or twelve. Efforts were made (unsuccess- 
fully) to cross a portion of the command at other points. 
Two days and nights of hard work were occupied in get- 
ting every thing across. One of the men who was ac- 
tively engaged in the work describes an apprehension 
which rendered it more disagreeable. "We had," he 
says, "the gun-boat fever very badly, at that time, and 
expected every minute to see one come in sight, for they 
were patroling the river for some miles above this point." 

Leaving the river on the morning of the 30th, Colonel 
Morgan reached Lawrenceburg, in Lawrence county, 
Tennessee, on that afternoon and encamped for the night. 
It was a fertile country. Rations and forage in abun- 
dance were procured, and a good deal more whisky than 
was good for the men. Early on the next morning the 
march was resumed, and about 10 A. M. (not far from 
Pulaski) Colonel Morgan learned that four hundred Fed- 
eral troops had just passed through on the road to Co- 
lumbia. They were principally convalescents, employed 
in putting up a line of telegraph from Columbia to Hunts- 
ville, Ala., and other "light work." Colonel Morgan 
determined to relieve them. The command was pressed 
on to the town in a gallop. Moving on rapidly, Colonel 
Morgan overtook the enemy a short distance beyond the 
town and at once attacked. Learning his approach, the 
Federals had hastily thrown up some slight breastworks 
in a field on the side of the road (in which a part of them 
were posted) ; others occupied a wood on the left of the 
road. Colonel Morgan formed his command, and — the 
ground permitting — charged on horseback, carrying the 
entire line. Many prisoners were captured, the remnant 


of the Federal force rallied after retreating about a mile, 
leaving the wagons. They were flanked by Company A 
and surrendered. 

At this juncture, a body of cavalry appeared, approach- 
ing from the direction of Columbia. Not knowing their 
strength, Colonel Morgan engaged them with skirmish- 
ers. Finding them not strong, he ordered Captain 
Brown to charge them, who routed and drove them six 
or seven miles. They were about fifty strong. Colonel 
Morgan's loss in this affair was slight. A few, only, of 
the enemy were killed. The prisoners (nearly four hun- 
dred), were taken back to Pulaski. The citizens were 
enthusiastic in their reception of Colonel Morgan and his 
soldiers — the men were wild with excitement and the 
women were in tears. Colonel Morgan's celebrated 
mare, "Black Bess," came in for her share of admiration 
and attention. The ladies crowded around to caress 
and feed her with dainties (for which she had a weakness) 
and her glossy tresses were in great request. It is re- 
corded that upon this occasion, for the first and only time 
in his life, Colonel Morgan opposed the wishes of his 
lady friends. Fearing that Bess would be completely 
shorn, he "tore her away" and sent her to the stable. 
Guards and pickets were posted and the command en- 

On the 3rd the column reached Harrington, fifteen 
miles from Shelbyville. Many bales of cotton were 
burned on that day. General Beauregard (in accordance 
with the instructions of the War Department) had issued 
orders that all cotton likely to fall into the enemy's hands 
should be burned. The command remained at Harring- 
ton during the night. Over one store the stars and 
stripes were floating resplendent. The men were so 
much pleased with this evidence of patriotism that they 
would patronize no other store in the place. Reaching 
the vicinity of Murfreesboro on the night of the 4th, Col- 
onel Morgan drove in all the pickets (next morning) and 
made a circuit about the town, striking the Nashville and 


Murfreesboro pike, about five miles from Stone river. 
The advance guard captured a few of the enemy's videttes 
on this road. 

Some cotton was burned and the telegraph wires were 
cut, after a dispatch had been sent to Nashville to the 
effect that Morgan had captured Shelbyville and Mur- 
freesboro wanted reinforcements. Colonel Morgan (an- 
ticipating brilliant feats in that line in the future) carried 
a telegraph operator (provided with a pocket instrument) 
upon this expedition. That night (at dark) the column 
reached Lebanon in Wilson county. The entire com- 
mand was quartered in the town. Companies A, B and 
C (of the Squadron) were placed at the college. The 
horses were tied in the large yard and the men occupied 
the building. The detachments under Colonel Wood, 
Captain Harris and Captain Brown were quartered at the 
livery stables. Colonel Morgan's headquarters were at 
the hotel. Colonel Wood, who had been left in the vi- 
cinity of Murfreesboro with a small party to observe if 
the enemy followed, came in some hours after nightfall, 
and reported that all was quiet. 

It was Colonel Morgan's intention to have moved at 
an early hour next morning and to have crossed the Cum- 
berland river at Canoe branch ferry, about ten miles from 
Lebanon. Orders were issued that the men should saddle 
their horses at 4 o'clock and that the command should 
form immediately afterward. The night was rainy and 
bleak. The enemy, a brigade of cavalry under General 
Dumont, advancing upon the Murfreesboro road, came 
to the picket stands a little before daybreak. 

The pickets were all at a house. This criminal neglect 
of duty was disastrous. Before the videttes discovered 
the consequences of their bad conduct at least one whole 
regiment had passed. Then one of them, named Pleasant 
Whitlow, a brave and (always before) excellent soldier, de- 
clared that he would retrieve his fault or die. He was 
mounted upon a fleet mare, and dashed at full speed along 
the road, passing the Federal column unstopped. He 


reached the hotel where Colonel Morgan was quartered 
just as the foremost Federal approached it. As Whitlow 
called loudly to alarm the Colonel, the enemy fired and 
killed him. The men at the college had just commenced 
to saddle when the enemy approached. They hurriedly 
formed. Company C, which was quartered in the part 
of the grounds nearest where the enemy entered the town, 
was attacked and driven pell-mell through the others be- 
fore it was fairly aligned. The three companies became 
mingled together and fell back into the town and upon 
the road across which Company A (extricating itself from 
the others) formed, under charge of its cool and gallant 
orderly sergeant, Zelah Bowyer. 

Colonel Morgan soon came up and his presence rein- 
spirited the men. He desired to join the other detach- 
ments but the enemy occupied the intervening space. A 
strong column was approaching Company A. Colonel 
Morgan ordered the men to dismount, reserve their fire, 
and drive it back when they did open. When the enemy 
was close the order to fire was given. A good many men 
and horses fell and the column recoiled. Several Federal 
officers in the confusion of this fight rode into the ranks 
of Colonel Morgan's command. Colonel Woolford was 
made a prisoner in this way. General Dumont, com- 
manding the entire force, was very nearly made prisoner. 

A chaplain, who made this mistake, asked, upon becom- 
ing undeceived, that he might be permitted to rejoin his 
command, "to pray for his men." "The h — 11 you say," 
responded a member of Company A; "Don't you think 
Morgan's men need praying for as well as Woolford's?" 

The detachments in the center of the town were com- 
pletely surrounded. Colonel Morgan made his way, with 
about a hundred men, to the Rome and Carthage road, 
upon which he commenced his retreat at a steady gait. 
Suddenly his rear was attacked. The enemy dashed 
upon it, sabering the men. In the excitement Colonel 
Morgan's mare broke the curb of her bridle and he was 
unable to restrain her, or reform his men. Two or three 

morgan's cavalry. 97 

taking hold of the reins strove to hold her in, but use- 
lessly. She went like a tornado. No effort was made, 
then, at concerted resistance; a few men turned and 
fought and then resumed their flight. A horse falling 
near the center of the column caused many others to fall 
and added — if any thing could add — to the wild, confused, 
rattling hurricane of flight. Colonel Morgan instructed 
the men (by courier, for Black Bess would not let him go 
in person) to take to the woods when their horses gave 
out. Many escaped in this way. The enemy (Kentucky 
regiments) were mounted on fine horses, comparatively 
fresh, which enabled them to press the pursuit so vigor- 

One man gives a graphic account of his part in the race. 
"I was riding," he says, "a horse captured from General 
Dumont and kept up with the colonel until my horse 
threw his shoes, which put me in the rear. The men had 
all passed me with the exception of Ben Drake. When 
Ben went by, he said, 'Tom, Dumont will get his horse.' 
I said, 'Yes, catch me a horse, Ben.' About a mile from 
that point I found Bole Roberts' horse, with the saddle 
under his belly and the stirrups broken off. As I did not 
have time to change saddles, I fixed Bole's saddle, led the 
horse to the fence, jumped on, used the spurs and soon 
passed Ben again, whose horse was now played out. I 
overtook Colonel Morgan, passed him, and found another 
horse with a saddle on. I stopped and changed saddles. 
When we got to Rome, thirteen miles from Lebanon, I 
traded horses again, and stayed in the rear with Colonel 
Morgan, who had gotten Black Bess, pulled up. A short 
distance from Rome the Yanks came within about one 
hundred yards of us and told us to stop. I told them 'to 

go to .' The colonel then told me to ride forward 

and make the men push on, as fast as possible. I was the 
first to reach the ferry, twenty-one miles from Lebanon. 
The boat was luckily on our side of the river. We got 
into it, as quickly as possible, and left our horses on the 

98 morgan's cavalry. 

shore. We wanted the colonel to take Black Bess, but he 
said no, if time was allowed he would send for all." 

"Black Bess" was, I think, the most beautiful and one 
of the finest specimens of horse flesh I ever saw. Scant 
fifteen hands in height, her strong back, broad tilted loins 
and muscular thighs enabled her to carry Morgan's one 
hundred and eighty-five pounds as if he were a feather 
weight. Her coat was jet black and as glossy as satin. I 
never saw such a head. It was as dainty and as finely 
modeled as a lady's. Wide between the eyes, it tapered 
to a muzzle small enough to drink from a goblet and was 
beautifully set upon a symmetrical and capacious throt- 
tle. Her neck was straight and unusually well propor- 
tioned, her girth deep and shoulders thin and sloping but 
indicative of strength. Short in the saddle space, but 
lengthy from brisket to whirlbone, with arched back rib 
and wide flank, her entire form was eloquent of speed and 
endurance. Her legs were clean with firm dry muscle 
and tendons like steel wires ; and her hoofs small, round, 
and hard as flint. From her Canadian sire Drennon, one 
of the greatest saddle stallions of Kentucky, she inherited 
nimble action and the staunchest constitution, and her 
thoroughbred dam dowered her wth speed, courage, in- 
telligence, and grace. 

Some fifteen men crossed in the ferry-boat. Sergeant 
Tom Quirk sprang into a canoe and paddled back to 
bring the mare over. When about half way across the 
enemy arrived on the shore to which he was returning 
and fired upon him, riddling the canoe with balls. He 
escaped uninjured. 

Efforts were made to obtain Colonel Morgan a horse. 
A fine one was selected, but the owner, an old woman, 
stood in the door-way with an ax and prevented all at- 
tempts "to trade." In vain was it represented to her 
that she should certainly be paid; she declared that "un- 
less she were first shot the horse should not be taken," 
and the "assessors" were compelled to beat a retreat. 
When Colonel Morgan halted that night he had scarcely 


twenty men with him, and shed tears as he speculated 
upon the probable fate of the rest. The men of the de- 
tachments which were surrounded in Lebanon were 
nearly all made prisoners. Colonel Wood held out for 
hours, until the enemy threatened to burn the town if he 
did not surrender. Among the killed was Captain 
Brown. The enemy's loss was greater than ours. 

On the 6th, Colonel Morgan reached Sparta, Tennes- 
see, and remained there until the 9th. In those three 
days a good many of his men came in. This inspirited 
and decided him to assume the offensive. Shoeing the 
horses and equipping the men as he best could (under the 
circumstances) he left Sparta on the 9th with nearly one 
hundred and fifty men — for the most part badly armed. 
He directed his march toward the territory of his former 
service, the country about Bowling Green. He hoped to 
find points of importance slenderly guarded and the gar- 
risons careless, under the impression that his severe de- 
feat — four days previously — had finished him. His 
forces were miscellaneous. He had not quite fifty of his 
own men, but Captains Bledsoe and Hamilton (command- 
ing companies which operated exclusively in that district) 
joined him, and Champe Ferguson reported as guide with 
four or five men. The men of Hamilton's and Bledsoe's 
companies were either new recruits or had never been 
subjected to any sort of discipline. Hamilton's ferry, 
sixty miles from Sparta, was reached that night, and the 
command, crossing the river, encamped on the northern 

Colonel Morgan had no difficulty in traveling expedi- 
tiously, for every inch of the ground for many miles be- 
yond the river was well known to his Tennessee guides, 
and when their knowledge failed he had reached a coun- 
try familiar to many of his own men. Marching by roads 
unfrequently traversed and bridle paths, he would have 
kept his motions perfectly secret but for a system of com- 
municating intelligence adopted about this time by the 
Home Guards of Southern Kentucky. Conch shells and 


horns were blown all along his route, by these fellows, 
the sound of which, transmitted a long distance, traveled 
faster than his column. 

On the next day, reaching the vicinity of Glasgow, the 
command was halted, and John Hines, a clever, daring 
scout and native of the place, was sent to Bowling Green 
to ascertain the strength of the garrison and condition of 
affairs there. 

Colonel Morgan desired to capture the town and burn 
the stores. 

Hines returned in a few hours with the information that 
five hundred troops were in the town and it was deter- 
mined not to attack. Colonel Morgan immediately de- 
termined to strike the Louisville and Nashville railroad 
between Bowling Green and the river, and attack and 
capture, at all hazards, the first train which passed. He 
was not likely to encounter one with many troops upon it, 
and the Bowling Green garrison would not come out to 
fight him. Traveling all night he passed through Glas- 
gow and early next day reached Cave City, twelve miles 
distant — the point elected at which to make his venture. 
Going in advance, himself, with five men, he had the good 
luck to discover a long train approaching and immedi- 
ately took measures to stop it. It seemed to be loaded 
with troops, who turned out, upon capture, to be em- 
ployees on the road. His entire command soon arrived. 
Forty freight cars and a fine engine were captured in this 
train and destroyed. 

Colonel Morgan was especially hopeful that he would 
be able to catch the train conveying his men captured at 
Lebanon to prison, but they had been sent off by the 

In a short time the passenger train from Louisville was 
heard coming. A cow-gap was filled with upright beams 
to stop the train and a party was detailed to lie in ambush, 
some distance up the road, and throw obstructions on the 
road as soon as the train had passed to prevent its return. 
Some women notified the conductor of his danger, but 


instead of backing he pressed on more rapidly. Sud- 
denly becoming aware of the blockade in front, he checked 
his train and tried to return, but there was already a bar- 
rier behind him. Some Federal officers were on the 
train, among them Majors Coffee and Helveti of Wool- 
ford's regiment. 

"Major Coffee," said an eye witness, "came out upon 
the platform and opened upon us with a battery of Colt's 
pistols. Ben Bigstaff dismounted and took a shot at him 
with his minnie rifle; the bullet struck within an inch of 
the Major's head and silenced his battery." A great 
many women were upon the train who were naturally 
much frightened. Colonel Morgan exerted himself to 
reassure them. The greatest surprise was manifested 
by the passengers when they learned that it was Morgan 
who had captured them. It was generally believed that 
he had been killed and his command utterly destroyed. 

One officer captured was accompanied by his wife. 
The lady approached Colonel Morgan, weeping, and im- 
plored him to spare her husband. "My dear Madam," he 
replied, bowing debonairly, and with the arch smile which 
none who knew him can forget, "I did not know that you 
had a husband." "Yes, sir," she said, "I have. Here he 
is. Don't kill him." "He is no longer my prisoner," 
said the Colonel, "he is yours," and he released the offi- 
cer unconditionally, bidding him console his wife. About 
eight thousand dollars in greenbacks — Government funds 
— were captured. The train was not burned, but Colo- 
nel Morgan begged the ladies to "accept it as a small 
token," etc. 

After all was over the men sat down to a fine dinner 
prepared at the Cave City Hotel for the passengers. 

Colonel Morgan now directed his march toward the 
Cumberland again. He had retaliated, in some degree, 
for the injury he had received, and could meet his com- 
rades in the South fresh from a success instead of a dis- 
aster. The column marched steadily and encamped at 
12 o'clock at night, fifteen miles from Glasgow. An in- 

102 morgan's cavalry. 

cident happened at this place well illustrative of Colonel 
Morgan's kindness and of the manner in which he could 
do tilings which would have been undignified in other 
officers and destructive of their authority. It was cus- 
tomary for each officer of rank to have his horses attended 
to by his negro, and the men were rarely required to per- 
form such duties. Colonel Morgan's groom, however, 
had been captured. "When we dismounted," safd the man 
who related to me the story, "Colonel Morgan gave his 
horse to Ben Drake, requesting him to unsaddle and feed 
him. As Ben had ridden twelve hours longer than the 
rest of us, he thought this very unkind, to say the least, 
in the Colonel. He, however, paid no attention to Ben's 
sour looks as the latter took the horse and obeyed the 
order. When Ben returned to the house, Colonel Mor- 
gan had reserved a place by the fire for him to sleep in. 
The next morning Ben was awakened by the Colonel, 
who told him to get up and eat his breakfast, as the com- 
mand was ready to move. "Why did you not have me 
roused sooner, Colonel?" asked Ben, "my horse has not 
been fed." "I wished you to sleep longer," answered the 
Colonel, "and fed, curried and saddled your horse, my- 
self." Would any other colonel in the army have done 
the same for a "poor private?" 

Major Coffee was paroled on condition that he would 
exert himself to procure his own exchange for Lieuten- 
ant-Colonel Wood, and that he would report again as 
prisoner if he failed. 

Passing through Burkesville on county-court day, cap- 
turing a few Federals and making many horse trades, the 
command passed on to a ford of the Cumberland, twelve 
miles from the little town, and crossed. Sparta was 
reached on the next day, where the Tennessee companies 
were left, and Colonel Morgan marched on toward Chat- 
tanooga, which place he reachd by easy marches. Some 
twenty or thirty more refugees and survivors of the "Leb- 
anon races" joined him here. Leaving these men at 
Chattanooga to recruit and refit as well as was possible 

morgan's cavalry. 1 03 

there, he immediately set out for Corinth to see what 
could be effected in the way of obtaining guns and the 
necessary equipment for his men, and to obtain permis- 
sion to make another expedition into Kentucky that he 
might recruit his regiment. About the middle of May 
two fine companies of Texas cavalry, commanded by Cap- 
tains R. M». Gano and Jno. Huffman, both native Ken- 
tuckians, arrived at Corinth, and requested to be assigned 
to Morgan, that they might see service in Kentucky. 
Their application was granted, and they at once marched 
for Chattanooga. 

I had been severely wounded at Shiloh and left behind 
when the command started upon the expedition just de- 
scribed. Upon my return to Corinth, I collected some 
thirty men of the Squadron (who for various reasons had 
not accompanied Colonel Morgan into Tennessee), and 
marched with Captain Gano to Chattanooga. We 
marched through a country where the people were 
friendly and hospitable and had no difficulty in supplying 
the men and horses. We had a few skirmishes with 
Federal troops posted along the Tennessee river, in one 
of which Captain Gano took some prisoners, and burned 
a good deal of cotton, collected by the Federals for trans- 
portation to Huntsville. The last two days of our march 
showed us the grandest and most beautiful scenery. We 
traversed the ridgy summit of the mountain range which 
runs just along the southern bank of the Tennessee and 
connects with the group of bold mountains around Chat- 
tanooga. At one point the view is exceedingly striking. 
From the immense height we occupied we could see a vast 
and varied expanse of country. In our front and to the 
right the mountains rose like blue domes piled closely 
together. A tremendous gulf — the bottom of which eye- 
sight could not fathom — spread between the range 
(where we were) and their hazy, azure sides. Directly 
before us "Lookout," giant chief of all — loomed high 
toward heaven. 

Sheer down, hundreds of feet beneath us, flowed the 


Tennessee. I could almost believe that my horse could 
leap from the top of the precipice to the opposite bank 
of the river. On the other side the land was low and 
nearly level. The green fields ran back from the river's 
brink in a gentle imperceptible ascent, until, miles away, 
the eye lost them in the horizon. The noisy cavalrymen 
were hushed by the scene and the grand silence was not 


Reorganization at Chattanooga — First Raid into Kentucky — Fight 
at Tompkinsville — Capture of Lebanon — In the Heart of the 
"Blue Grass" — Strategic Use oe the Telegraph — Fight at 
Cynthiana — Return to Tennessee — Dash into Middle Ten- 
nessee and Service in the Vicinity of Nashville — Capture 
of Boone's Regiment — Constant Skirmishing, Many Prison- 
ers Taken and Paroled — Destruction of the Railroad — Sharp 
Combats at Gallatin and Cairo. 

At Chattanooga we found and were welcomed by Col- 
onel Morgan and our gallant comrades, and never did 
brothers meet after separation and danger with more 
hearty joy. For the first time, we learned who had been 
lost, and as we talked it over, the pleasure and congratu- 
lation, so natural at our reunion, gave way to sadness as 
we named the dead and counted up the captives. 
Although much reduced in numbers, the Squadron was 
unbroken in spirit and courage ; the men who had safely 
gone through the dangers of the late expedition were 
more eager than ever for another, and burned to wipe 
out any stain that might dim their reputation and to 
avenge their comrades. They had completely recovered 
from the fatigue of the raid, and their first thought (when 
they welcomed the accession to the command that we 
brought) was of instant march to Kentucky. 

Gano and his Texans were greeted with enthusiasm, 
and were delighted with the choice they had made of a 
leader and brothers-in-arms. The work of reorganiza- 
tion was immediately commenced. The three companies 
of the Squadron, much depleted, were filled nearly to the 
maximum by recruits who came in rapidly, and became of 
course the first three companies of the regiment which 
was now formed. 

Some three hundred men of the First Kentucky In- 
fantry (which had been just disbanded in Virginia, their 
term of service having expired) came to Chattanooga to 

106 morgan's cavalry. 

join Morgan. A good many of them went into the old 
companies, and the remainder formed companies under 
officers known to them in their original regimental or- 
ganization. Captain Jacob Cassel became captain of 
Company A. Captain Thomas Allen resigned (on ac- 
count of extreme ill health), the captaincy of Company 
B, and his brother, John Allen (once colonel in Nica- 
raugua under Walker) succeeded him. Captain Bowles 
remained in command of Company C. John B. Castle- 
man who had just come out of Kentucky (fighting as he 
came) with a number of recruits, was made captain of 
Company D. John B. Hutchinson, formerly lieutenant 
in the First Kentucky Infantry, was made captain of Com- 
pany E. Captain Thomas B. Webber, who had served 
at Pensacola under General Bragg, during the past year, 
brought with him from Mississippi a company of most 
gallant soldiers, many of them his former comrades. 
This company was admitted into the regiment as Com- 
pany F Captain McFarland, of Alabama, brought with 
him a few men, and was promised that so soon as his com- 
pany was recruited to the proper standard it should take 
its place in the regiment as Company G. 

Thus it will be seen that Morgan's old regiment was 
composed of the men of his old Squadron, of veterans 
from Virginia, and men (from nearly all the Southern 
States) who had, with few exceptions, seen service. 
These six companies, and the fragment of the seventh, 
numbered in all not quite four hundred men. The field 
and staff, were immediately organized. I became lieu- 
tenant-colonel; G. W Morgan, formerly of the Third 
Tennessee Infantry, was major. Gordon E. Niles, once 
editor of a New York paper and a private of Company 
A, was appointed adjutant. He was a gallant soldier, 
and died, not long afterward, a soldier's death. Captain 
Thomas Allen, formerly of Company B, was appointed 
surgeon. Doctor Edelin, the assistant surgeon, per- 
formed for many months the duties of both offices on 
account of the illness of the former. D. H. L,lewellyn 

morgan's cavalry. 107 

and Hiram Reese, both members of the old Squadron, 
were appointed, respectively, quartermaster and commis- 

While we were at Chattanooga, General Mitchell came 
to the other side of the river and shelled the town. The 
commandant of the place, General Leadbeter, had two or 
three guns in battery, and replied, when the gunners, who 
were the most independent fellows I ever saw, chose to 
work the guns. The defense of the place was left entirely 
to the individual efforts of those who chose to defend it; 
nothing prevented its capture but the fact that the enemy 
could not cross the river. Very little loss was sustained 
and the damage done the town by the shells was imma- 
terial. We tried to keep our men in camp, but some 
joined in the fight; one only was hurt. He volunteered 
to assist in working one of the guns and had part of his 
tongue shot off by a rifleman upon the opposite bank. 
About 5 P M. the enemy seemed to be withdrawing. 
The artillery was still playing on both sides and the enemy 
occupied the heights where their battery was planted, but 
the infantry and sharpshooters had disappeared from the 
low land just opposite the city. Colonel Morgan (desir- 
ous to ascertain certainly if they had gone) crossed the 
river in a canoe. I was unwilling to see him go alone, 
and, after trying in vain to dissuade him, very regretfully 
accompanied him. Several shells flew over the canoe and 
one burst just above it, some of the fragments falling in it. 
We landed just opposite the wharf and stole cautiously 
through a straggling thicket to the position which the 
enemy had occupied. We stood upon the very ground 
which they had held only a short time before, and as 
nothing could be seen of them we concluded that they 
had drawn off entirely. 

As we returned we met Jack Wilson (the trustiest sol- 
dier that ever shouldered a rifle) who had paddled us over, 
on his way to look for us ; unable to endure the suspense 
he had left the canoe over which he had been posted as 

108 morgan's cavalry. 

After a week or ten days sojourn at Chattanooga, we 
set out for Knoxville. The better part of the men were 
mounted, and those who were not had great hopes. When 
we reached Knoxville, the Second Kentucky (as our regi- 
ment was designated in the rolls of the War Department) 
and the Texas squadron were encamped in close vicinity, 
and for two or three weeks both were drilled strictly 
twice a day and mightily distressed by guard-mounting 
and dress-parades. These dress-parades presented a 
graceful and pleasing spectacle on account of the varie- 
gated appearance of the ranks. 

The men were all comfortably clad, but their clothing 
was uniform, only, in its variety. Strange as it may seem 
to the unexperienced, dress has a good deal to do with 
the spirit of soldiers. The morale of troops depends, in a 
great measure, upon pride, and personal appearance has 
something to do with pride. How awful, for instance, 
must it be to a sensitive young fellow, accustomed at 
home to wear good clothes and appear confidently before 
the ladies, when he is marching through a town and the 
girls come out to wave their handkerchiefs, to feel that 
the rear of his pantaloons has given way in complete dis- 
order. The cavalryman, in such cases, finds protection 
in his saddle, but the soldier on foot is defenseless : and 
thus the very recognition, which, if he has a stout pair of 
breeches would be his dearest recompense for all his toils, 
becomes his most terrible affliction. Many a time have I 
seen a gallant infantryman, who would have faced a bat- 
tery double-shotted with grape and canister with com- 
parative indifference, groan and turn pale in this fearful 
ordeal. It was a touching sight to see them seek to dis- 
pose their knapsacks in such manner that they should 
serve as shelter. 

The ideas which the experience of the past eight 
months had suggested, regarding the peculiar tactics best 
adapted to the service and the kind of fighting we had to 
do, were now put into practical shape. A specific drill, 
different in almost every respect from every other em- 


ployed for cavalry, was adopted. It was based upon a 
drill taught in the old army for Indian fighting, called 
"Maury's skirmish tactics for cavalry." But as that drill 
contemplated the employment of but a very few men and 
ours had to provide for the evolutions of regiments and 
eventually brigades, the latter was necessarily much more 
comprehensive. The formation of the company, the 
method of counting off in sets and of dismounting and de- 
ploying to the front, flanks, or rear, for battle, was the 
same as in Maury's tactics ; but a great many movements 
necessary to the change of front, as the kind of ground 
or other circumstances required it to be made in various 
ways, to the formations from column into line and from 
line into column, the methods of taking ground to the 
front or rear, in establishing or changing line ; the various 
methods of providing, as circumstances might require, for 
the employment of all or only part of a regiment or bri- 
gade, or for the employment of supports and reserves, all 
these evolutions had to be added. It would be uninter- 
esting to all but the practical military reader, and unneces- 
sary, as well, to enter into a minute explanation of these 

If the reader will imagine a regiment drawn up in single 
rank, the flank companies skirmishing, sometimes on 
horseback, and then thrown out as skirmishers on foot 
and so deployed as to cover the whole front of the regi- 
ment; the rest of the men dismounted (one out of each 
set of four remaining to hold horses*) and deployed as 
circumstances required and the command indicated, to 
the front of, on either flank, or to the rear of the line of 
horses — the files two yards apart — and then imagine this 
line moved forward at a double-quick or oftener a half 
run, he will have an idea of Morgan's style of fighting. 

Exactly the same evolutions were applicable for horse- 
back, or foot fighting, but the latter method was much 
oftener practiced — we were, in fact, not cavalry but 

*When it became necessary to strengthen the fighting line, one man 
was required to hold eight horses. 


mounted riflemen. A small body of mounted men was 
usually kept in reserve to act on the flanks, cover a re- 
treat, or press a victory, but otherwise we fought very 
little on horseback except on scouting expeditions. Our 
men were all admirable riders, trained from childhood to 
manage the wildest horses with perfect ease ; but the na- 
ture of the ground on which we generally fought, covered 
with dense woods or crossed by high fences, and the im- 
possibility of devoting sufficient time to the training of the 
horses, rendered the employment of large bodies of 
mounted men to any good purpose very difficult. It was 
very easy to charge down a road in column of fours, but 
very hard to charge across the country in extended line 
and keep any sort of formation. Then we never used sa- 
bers, and long guns were not exactly the weapons for cav- 
alry evolutions. We found the method of fighting on foot 
more effective; we could maneuver with more certainty 
and sustain less and inflict more loss. "The long flexible 
line curving forward at each extremity," as an excellent 
writer described it, was very hard to break; if forced back 
at one point a withering fire from every other would be 
poured in on the assailant. It admitted, too, of such facil- 
ity of maneuvering ; and by simply facing to the right or 
left and double-quicking in the same direction, every man 
could be quickly concentrated at any point where it was 
desirable to mass. 

It must be remembered that Morgan very rarely fought 
with the army; he had to make his command a self-sus- 
taining one. If repulsed he could not fall back and re- 
form behind the infantry. He had to fight infantry, cav- 
alry, artillery ; take towns when every house was a gar- 
rison and attack fortifications with nothing to depend on 
but his own immediate command. He was obliged, there- 
fore, to adopt a method which enabled him to do a great 
deal in a short time and to keep his men always in hand 
whether successful or repulsed. With his support from 
forty to five hundred miles distant an officer had better 
learn to rely on himself. 


The ease and rapidity with which this simple drill was 
learned and the expedition with which it enabled all move- 
ments to be accomplished chiefly recommended it to 
Morgan. I have seen his division, when numbering over 
three thousand men and stretched out in column, put into 
line of battle in thirty minutes. 

The weapon which was always preferred by the officers 
and men of the command was the rifle known as the "me- 
dium Enfield." The short Enfield was very convenient to 
carry, but was deficient both in length of range and ac- 
curacy. The long Enfield, without any exception the best 
of all rifles, was unwieldy either to carry or to use, as 
sometimes became necessary, on horseback. The Spring- 
field rifle, nearly equal to the long Enfield, was liable to 
the same objections although in a less degree. 

It was impossible, however, to obtain, when we were 
organizing at Knoxville, the exact description of guns we 
wished. One company was armed with the long Enfield, 
another had the medium, and Company A got the short 
Enfield. Company C was furnished with Mississippi rifles 
and Company B retained the shotguns which they had 
used for nearly a year. Company E was provided with a 
gun, called from the stamp upon the barrel, the "Tower 
gun;" it was of English make and was a sort of Enfield 
carbine. Its barrel was rather short and bore immense; 
it carried a ball larger than the Belgian. Its range and 
accuracy were first-rate. 

It was some months before each company of the regi- 
ment was armed with the same or similar guns. Nearly 
every man had a pistol and some two. Shortly afterward, 
when they were captured in sufficient numbers, each man 
was provided with a pair. The pistol preferred and usu- 
ally worn by the men was the army Colt furnished to the 
Federal cavalry regiments. This patent is far the best 
and most effective of any I have ever seen. 

At this time two small howitzers* were sent from Rich- 

*These pieces were sometimes styled "Mountain" howitzers. They 
were really short, light twelve pound howitzers. 


mond for Morgan's use. It is unnecessary to describe a 
piece so well known, but it may be as well to say that no 
gun is so well adapted in all respects to the wants of cav- 
alry as these little guns. With a large command, it is al- 
ways well enough to have two or four pieces of longer 
range and yet of light draft, such as the three-inch Par- 
rot; but if I were required to dispense with one or the 
other I would choose to retain the former. They can be 
drawn (with a good supply of ammunition in the limbers), 
by two horses over any kind of road. They can go over 
ravines, up hills, through thickets, almost anywhere, in 
short, that a horseman can go. They throw shell with ac- 
curacy eight hundred yards, quite as far as there is any 
necessity for generally in cavalry fighting; they throw 
canister and grape two and three hundred yards, as effec- 
tively as a twelve pounder; they can be carried by hand 
right along with the line and as close to the enemy as the 
line goes, and they make a great deal more noise than one 
would suppose from their size and appearance. If the 
carriages are well made, they can stand very hard service, 
and they are easily repaired, if injured. These little guns 
were attached to the Second Kentucky and the men of 
that regiment became much attached to them. They 
called them familiarly and affectionately the "Bull Pups," 
and cheered them whenever they were taken into a fight. 
They remained with us, doing excellent service, until just 
before the Ohio raid; and, then, when General Bragg's 
ordnance officer arbitrarily took them away it came near 
raising a mutiny in the regiment. 

Just before Morgan left Knoxville on the expedition 
known as "the first Kentucky raid," he was joined by a 
gentleman "from abroad," whose history had been a curi- 
ous and extraordinary series of exciting adventures and 
who now came to see something of our war. This was 
Lieutenant-Colonel George St. Leger Greenfel, of the 
English service, and of all the very remarkable characters 
who have figured (outside of popular novels) in this age 
he will receive the suffrages of our Western cavalrymen 


for pre-eminence in devil-may-care eccentricity- He had 
commenced life by running away from his father, because 
the latter would not permit him to enter the army, and 
in doing so he showed the good sense that he really pos- 
sessed, for the army was the proper place for him. He 
served five years in some French regiment in Algeria, and 
then quitting the service lived for a number of years in 
Tangiers, where he did a little business on the side of the 
Moors when the French bombarded the place. He served 
four years with Abd-El-Kader, of whom he always spoke 
in the highest terms. Having exhausted life in Africa, 
he looked elsewhere for excitement, and passed many 
years of his subsequent life in great happiness and con- 
tentment, amid the pleasant scenes of the Crimean war, 
the Sepoy rebellion, and Garibaldi's South American 

When the war broke out over here, he came of course, 
and taking a fancy to Morgan from what he had heard of 
him came to join him. He was very fond of discussing 
military matters but did not like to talk about himself, and 
although I talked with him daily, it was months before he 
told anything of his history. He was a thorough and very 
accomplished soldier — and may have encountered some- 
thing in early life that he feared, but if so it had ceased to 

He became Morgan's adjutant general and was of great 
assistance to him, but sometimes gave trouble by his im- 
practicable temper; he persisted, among other things, in 
making out all papers in the style he had learned in the 
English service, the regulations and orders of the War 
Department "to the contrary notwithstanding." 

He was always in a good temper when matters were ac- 
tive — I never saw him hilarious but once and that was the 
day after the battle of Hartsville; he had just thrashed 
his landlord and doubled up a brother Englishman, in a 
"set-to" about a mule, and was contemplating an expedi- 
tion on the morrow with General Morgan to Nashville. 
He was the only gentleman I ever knew who liked to fight 


with his fists, and was always cheerful and contented when 
he could shoot and be shot at. 

After he left Morgan he was made chief inspector of 
cavalry, and became the terror of the entire "front." He 
would have been invaluable as commander of a brigade of 
cavalry, composed of men who (unlike our volunteers) ap- 
preciated the "military necessity" of occasionally having 
an officer knock them in the head. If permitted to form, 
discipline and drill such a brigade of regular cavalry after 
his own fashion, he would have made gaps in many lines 
of battle, or have gotten his "blackguards well peppered" 
in trying. 

Some time in the latter part of June, Colonel Hunt, of 
Georgia, arrived at Knoxville with a "Partisan Ranger" 
regiment between three and four hundred strong, to ac- 
company Morgan upon his contemplated raid. 

When the entire force of able-bodied and mounted men 
was estimated, it was found eight hundred and seventy- 
six strong — Hunt's regiment numbering about three hun- 
dred and fifty; mine, the Second Kentucky, about three 
hundred and seventy, and Gano's squadron making up the 

Fifty or sixty men, from all the commands, were left at 
Knoxville for lack of horses. Perhaps two hundred men 
of this force, with which Morgan commenced the expedi- 
ton, were unarmed, and a much larger number were badly 
mounted and provided with the most indifferent saddles 
and equipments. 

The command set out from Knoxville on the morning 
of the 4th of July, 1862, and took the road to Sparta, a 
little place on the confines of the rugged mountainous 
country which separates Middle Tennessee from the rich 
valley of East Tennessee in which Knoxville is situated. 
Sparta is one hundred and four miles from Knoxville. 
We reached it after tolerably hard marching, for the road 
was terribly rough, on the evening of the third day and 
encamped five miles beyond it on the road to Livingston. 

While traversing the region between Knoxville and 


TAKEN DY Tennessee Uoe, 

GEN. JUL O R. C3- A. 1ST 

In his First Uaid into the 

"Blue filrqss ^egjo*)" 

Of Kentucky, July, 18C2. 

• — indicates Gen. Morgan'a route. 
m^m Indicates Federals' route. 



Sparta we were repeatedly fired upon by bushwhackers, 
but had only one man killed by them — a Texan of Gano's 
squadron. We made many unsuccessful attempts to cap- 
ture them, but they always chose the most inaccessible 
points to fire from and we could never get at them. 

At Sparta Champe Ferguson reported as a guide and I, 
for the first time, saw him, although I had often heard of 
him before. He had the reputation of never giving quar- 
ter, and, no doubt, deserved it (when upon his own pri- 
vate expeditions), although when with Morgan he at- 
tempted no interference with prisoners. This redoubted 
personage was a native of Clinton county, Kentucky, and 
was a fair specimen of the kind of characters which the 
wild mountain country produces. He was a man of strong 
sense, although totally uneducated, and of the intense will 
and energy which, in men of his stamp and mode of life 
have such a tendency to develop into ferocity when they 
are in the least injured or opposed. He was grateful for 
kindness, and instinctively attached to friends and vin- 
dictive against his enemies. He was known as a desper- 
ate man before the war, and ill-treatment of his wife and 
daughter by some soldiers and Home Guards enlisted in 
his own neighborhood made him relentless in his hatred 
of all Union men; he killed all the parties concerned in 
the outrage upon his family, and, becoming then an out- 
law, kept up that style of warfare. It is probable that, at 
the close of the war, he did not himself know how many 
men he had killed. He had a brother of the same char- 
acter as himself, in the Union army, and they sought each 
other persistently, mutually bent on fratricide. Champe 
became more widely known than any of them, but the 
mountains of Kentucky and Tennessee were filled with 
such men, who murdered every prisoner that they took; 
and they took part, as their politics inclined them, with 
either side. For a long time Ferguson hunted, or was 
hunted by, a man of his own order and nearly as noto- 
rious on the other side, namely, "Tinker Dave Beattie." 

On the evening of the 7th, we encamped in the vicinity 


of Livingston. Leaving early next morning, by midday 
we reached the Cumberland river at the ford near the 
small village of Selina. Here Colonel Morgan received 
positive information of the strength and position of the 
enemy at Tompkinsville, eighteen miles from Selina. He 
had learned at Knoxville that a Federal garrison was at 
this place and had determined to attack it. One battalion 
of the Ninth Pennsylvania under command of Major Jor- 
dan, about three hundred and fifty strong, constituted the 
entire force. It was Morgan's object to surprise and cap- 
ture the whole of it. He accordingly sent forward scouts 
to watch and report everything going on at their camp, 
while he halted the bulk of the command until nightfall. 
The men employed the interval of rest in attention to 
their horses and in bathing in the river. At 1 1 o'clock the 
march was resumed ; the road was rough and incumbered 
at some points with fallen timber, so that the column 
made slow progress. When within four or five miles of 
Tompkinsville, Gano's squadron and Hamilton's company 
of Tennessee Partisan Rangers, which had joined us the 
evening before, were sent by a road which led to the right 
to get in the rear of the enemy and upon his line of retreat 
toward Glasgow. The rest of the command reached Tomp- 
kinsville at 5 o'clock. It was consequently broad daylight 
and the enemy had information of our approach in time to 
form to receive us. Colonel Hunt was formed upon the 
left and my regiment upon the right, with the howitzers 
in the center. It was altogether unnecessary to form any 
reserve, and as our numbers were so superior our only 
care was to "lap around" far enough on the flanks to en- 
circle the game. 

The enemy were posted on a thickly wooded hill, to 
reach which we had to cross open fields. They fired, 
therefore, three or four volleys while we were closing on 
them. The Second Kentucky did not fire until within 
about sixty yards and one volley was then enough. The 
fight did not last more than ten minutes. The enemy lost 
about twenty killed and twenty or thirty wounded. 


Thirty prisoners, only, were taken on the ground, but 
Gano and Hamilton intercepted and captured a good 
many more, including the commander, Major Jordan. 
Our force was too much superior in strength for them to 
have made much resistance, as we outnumbered them 
more than two to one. 

Our loss was only in wounded ; we had none killed. 
But a severe loss was sustained in Colonel Hunt, whose 
leg was shattered and it was necessary to leave him; he 
died in a few days of the wound. Three of the Texans also 
were wounded in their chase after the fugitives. The 
tents, stores and camp equipage were destroyed. A 
wagon train of twenty wagons and fifty mules was cap- 
tured and a number of cavalry horses. Abundant sup- 
plies of coffee, sugar, etc., etc., were found in the camp. 

Leaving Tompkinsville at 3 o'clock in the afternoon, 
after paroling the prisoners, we reached Glasgow about 
1 o'clock that night. This town was unoccupied by any 
garrison and its people were very friendly to us. Com- 
pany C of the old Squadron had been principally recruited 
here. The command rested at Glasgow until 9 A. M. next 
day; during the time the ladies busied themselves in pre- 
paring breakfast for us, and before we left every man had 
taken in a three days' supply. A straggler captured at 
Glasgow gave us some "grape-vine" intelligence which 
annoyed us no little. He stated that McClellan had taken 
Richmond. When we left Knoxville the battle of the 
seven days was going on, and we had, of course, heard 
nothing after we started. A halt of two or three hours 
was made at Bear Wallow to enable Ellsworth (popu- 
larly known as "Lightning"), the telegraphic operator on 
Colonel Morgan's staff, to tap the line between Louisville 
and Nashville and obtain the necessary information regard- 
ing the position of the Federal forces in Kentucky. Con- 
necting his own instrument and wire with the line, Ells- 
worth began to take off the dispatches. Finding the news 
come slow, he entered into a conversation with Louisville 
and obtained much of what was wanted. He in return 

u8 morgan's cavalry. 

communicated such information as Colonel Morgan de- 
sired to have the enemy act upon. One statement, made 
at haphazard and with no other knowledge to support it, 
except that Forrest was in Middle Tennessee, was singu- 
larly verified. Morgan caused Ellsworth to telegraph 
that Forrest had taken Murfreesboro and had captured 
the entire garrison. Forrest did exactly what was at- 
tributed to him on that or the next day. A heavy storm 
coming on caused them, after several fruitless efforts to 
continue, to desist telegraphing. 

The column was put in motion again immediately upon 
Colonel Morgan's return, and marching all night got 
within fifteen miles of Lebanon by n A. M. next morn- 
ing. Here Company B was detached, to push rapidly to 
the railroad between Lebanon and Lebanon Junction, and 
ordered to destroy it, so that troops might not be thrown 
into Lebanon in time to oppose us. The march was not 
resumed until 3 or 4 in the afternoon, so that when we 
reached Rolling Fork river, six miles from Lebanon, it 
was dark. Colonel Morgan, who was riding with his staff 
in front of the advance guard, was fired upon as he entered 
the small covered bridge across the stream by a party of 
the enemy stationed at the other end of it. His hat was 
shot from his head, but neither he nor any of his staff were 
touched. One of the howitzers was immediately run up 
and a shell was thrown into the bridge. A platoon of the 
leading company was dismounted and carried at a double 
quick to clear it. When they reached it, the enemy, 
alarmed by the shell, which had killed one man, had re- 
treated. The bottom of the bridge was found to have been 
torn up and a short time was spent in repairing it. 

As soon as the bridge was repaired the column crossed 
and pressed on to Lebanon. Within a mile of the town 
skirmishing commenced with the force which held it. 
Two companies (E and C of the Second Kentucky) were 
thrown out on foot and advanced at a brisk pace driving 
the enemy before them. Two or three of the enemy were 
killed ; our loss was nothing. The town was surrendered 

morgan's cavalry. 119 

by its commandant about 10 o'clock; some two hundred 
prisoners were taken. 

Pickets were immediately posted on every road, and 
the whole command encamped in such a manner that it 
could be immediately established in line. It was neces- 
sary to remain at Lebanon until the large quantity of 
stores of all kinds which were there were disposed of, and, 
as we were now in the midst of enemies, no precaution 
could be omitted. Captain Allen, who, as has been men- 
tioned, was detached with Company B of the Second Ken- 
tucky to prevent the train from bringing reinforcements 
to Lebanon, struck the railroad at New Hope Church and 
had just commenced to destroy it when a train came with 
a large number of troops on board for Lebanon. He at- 
tacked it, and a skirmish of a few minutes resulted in the 
train going back. The night was very dark and little loss, 
if any, was inflicted on either side. 

On the next day an examination of the stores showed 
an abundance of every description. A sufficient number 
of excellent guns were gotten to arm every man effi- 
ciently, and some thousands were destroyed. A large 
building was found to be filled with cartridges and fixed 
ammunition. An abundant supply of ammunition for 
small arms was thus obtained, and a fresh supply of am- 
munition was also gotten for the howitzers. There was 
also a stone magazine not far from the depot which was 
full of powder. The powder was taken out and thrown 
into the stream near by. 

Very large supplies of provisions were found — meat, 
flour, sugar, coffee, etc., — which were turned over to the 
citizens, and when they had helped themselves the re- 
mainder was burned. A great deal of clothing had been 
collected here, and the men were enabled to provide them- 
selves with everything which they needed in the way of 
underclothing. While at Lebanon copies of a flaming 
proclamation, written and published at Glasgow, were 

After the destruction of the stores had been completed 


and Ellsworth had closed his business at the telegraph of- 
fice, the command was again put in motion. It left the 
town about 2 P M., on the Springfield road. Before leav- 
ing Knoxville Colonel Morgan, appreciating the necessity 
of having an advance guard which could be thoroughly re- 
lied on, and disinclined to trust to details changed every 
day for that duty, had organized a body of twenty-five 
men, selected with great care from the entire force under 
his command, to constitute a continuous advance guard 
for the expedition. So well did this body perform the 
service assigned it that the men composing it, with some 
additions to make up the tale as others were taken out, 
were permanently detailed for that duty, and it became 
an honor eagerly sought and a reward for gallantry and 
good conduct second only to promotion to be enrolled in 
"the advance." The noncommissioned officers were 
chosen with the same care, and First Lieutenant Charles 
W Rogers, of Company E, formerly of the First Ken- 
tucky Infantry, was appointed to command it. This offi- 
cer possessed in an eminent degree the cool judgment, 
perfect fearlessness, command of men and shrewdness of 
perception requisite for such an office. 

This guard habitually marched at a distance of four 
hundred yards in front of the column; three videttes 
were posted at intervals of one hundred yards between it 
and the column. Their duties were to transmit informa- 
tion and orders between the column and the guard, and 
to regulate the gait of the former so that it would not 
press too close on the latter, and, also, to prevent any 
straggling between the two. Six videttes were thrown 
out in front of the guard — four at intervals of fifty yards, 
and with another interval of the same distance from the 
fourth of these two rode together in the extreme front. 
These two were consequently at a distance of two hun- 
dred and fifty yards in front of the body of the guard. At 
first these videttes were regularly relieved, but it was af- 
terward judged best to keep the same men always on the 
same duty. The advance videttes were required to exam- 


ine carefully on all sides and report to the officer of the 
guard the slightest indication which seemed suspicious. 
When they came to by-roads or cross-roads one or both, 
as the case might require, immediately galloped some 
two or three hundred yards down them, and remained 
until relieved by men sent for that purpose from the head 
of the column, when they returned to their posts. 

As soon as they notified the officer of the guard by call- 
ing to the videttes next behind them that they were about 
to leave their posts, he took measures to supply their 
places. The two videttes next to them in the chain gal- 
loped to the front, the other two, also moved up respec- 
tively fifty yards, and two men were sent from the guard 
to fill the places of the last. 

When the videttes regularly in advance returned, the 
original disposition was resumed. If an enemy was en- 
countered, men were dispatched from the guard to the as- 
sistance of the videttes, or the latter fell back on the 
guard, as circumstances dictated. If the enemy was too 
strong to be driven by the advance, the latter endeavored 
to hold him in check (and was reinforced if necessary) 
until the command could be formed for attack or defense. 
Scouting parties were of course thrown out on the front 
and flanks, as well as to the rear, but as these parties were 
often miles away in search of information, it was necessary 
to always have a vigilant advance guard with the column. 

Passing through Springfield without a halt, the column 
marched in the direction of Harrodsburg. On the next 
morning about 9 o'clock we entered Harrodsburg, an- 
other stronghold of our friends, and were warmly wel- 

It was Sunday, and a large concourse of people were 
in town. We found that the ladies, in anticipation of our 
coming, had prepared the most inviting rations, and the 
men after attending to their horses and supplying them 
with forage, a "superabundance of which" to use the old 
forage-master's expression was stacked close by, fell to 
themselves, and most of them were eating, with short in- 


tervals employed in sleeping, until the hour of departure. 
Harrodsburg is twenty-eight miles from Lexington, the 
headquarters then of the Federal forces of that region. 
Gano, with his squadron, was detached at Harrodsburg 
to go around Lexington and burn the bridges on the Ken- 
tucky Central Railroad, in order to prevent troops from 
being thrown into Lexington from Cincinnati. Captain 
Allen was sent to destroy the bridges over Benson and 
other small streams on the Louisville and Lexington rail- 
road, to prevent the transmission of troops by that road, and 
also to induce the impression that the command was mak- 
ing for Louisville. About dark the column moved from 
Harrodsburg on the Frankfort pike. It was Morgan's 
wish to induce the belief that he intended to attack Frank- 
fort but to suddenly turn to the right and make for Lex- 
ington, capture that place if he could, and if he could not, 
at least enjoy the fine country in its vicinity. 

At I P M. that night we encamped at Lawrenceburg, 
the county seat of Anderson county, twenty-miles from 
Harrodsburg and about fifteen from Frankfort. A scout- 
ing party was sent immediately on in the direction of 
Frankfort, with instructions to drive in the pickets after 
daybreak and to rejoin us at Versailles. The command 
had now marched three hundred and odd miles in eight 
days, but the men, despite the fatigue usually resulting 
from night marching, were comparatively fresh and in the 
most exultant spirits. So far everything had gone well; 
although encompassed by superior forces, celerity of 
movement and skillful selection of route had enabled us 
to elude them. A good many little affairs had occurred 
with the Home Guards, which I have not mentioned, but 
they had been expected and the damage from them was 
trifling. Leaving Lawrenceburg next morning at day- 
break, the column took the road to Versailles, but was 
compelled to halt at Shryock's ferry, seven miles from 
Versailles. On account of the ferry boat having been 
sunk, it was necessary to raise and repair it, so that the 
howitzers might be crossed. This delay prevented us 

morgan's cavalry. 123 

from reaching Versailles before night fell. It was now 
deemed good policy to march more slowly, obtain per- 
fectly accurate information, and increase the confusion 
already prevailing by threatening all points of importance. 
This policy was not a hazardous one, under the circum- 
stances, for although the forces surrounding the point 
where we now were were each superior to our own, yet 
by getting between them and preventing their concentra- 
tion, and industriously creating the impression to which 
the people were at any rate disposed that our force was 
four or five thousand strong, Morgan had demoralized 
them and they were afraid to come out and meet him. 
The ease with which he had, hitherto, pressed right on, 
without a momentary check, confirmed the belief that he 
was very strong. 

The command remained encamped at Versailles during 
the night. Scouts were sent in every direction, and upon 
their return next day reported that a very general con- 
sternation prevailed, as well as uncertainty regarding 
our movements. The Home Guards and little detach- 
ments of troops were running, on the one side for Lexing- 
ton, and on the other for Frankfort. Leaving Versailles 
next day about 10 A. M., the column moved toward 

Before leaving Versailles, the scouting parties which 
had been dispatched to Frankfort rejoined the command. 
Frankfort was by this time relieved of all fear of imme- 
diate attack, and Colonel Morgan became apprehensive 
that the troops there might be marched out after him, 
or that communication might be opened with Lexington 
which might lead to a simultaneous attack upon him by 
the forces of the two points. He hoped that the detach- 
ment under Captain Allen, returning, after the destruction 
of the bridge between Frankfort and Louisville, and nec- 
essarily marching close to the former (in doing so), would 
produce the impression there, that an attack was again im- 
minent. We reached Midway (about 12 M.), a little town 
on the railroad and equidistant from Lexington and 

124 morgan's cavalry. 

Frankfort. What took place at Midway is best described 
in Ellsworth's language. He says : 

"At this place I surprised the operator, who was quietly sitting on 
the platform in front of his office, enjoying himself hugely. Little did 
he suspect that the much-dreaded Morgan was in his vicinity. I de- 
manded of him to call Lexington and inquire the time of day, which 
he did. This I did for the purpose of getting his style of handling the 
'key' in writing dispatches. My first impression of his style, from 
noting the paper in the instrument, was confirmed. He was, to use 
a telegraphic term, a 'plug' operator. I adopted his style of telegraphing, 
and commenced operations. In this office I found a signal book, which 
proved very useful. It contained the calls of all the offices. Dispatch 
after dispatch was going to and from Lexington, Georgetown, Paris 
and Frankfort, all containing something in reference to Morgan. On 
commencing operations, I discovered that there were two wires on the 
line along this railroad. One was what we termed a 'through wire,' 
running direct from Lexington to Frankfort and not entering any of 
the way offices. I found that all military messages were sent over that 
line. As it did not enter Midway office, I ordered it to be cut, thus 
forcing Lexington on to the wire that did run through the office. I 
tested the line and found, by applying the ground wire, it made no 
difference with the circuit; and, as Lexington was headquarters, I cut 
Frankfort off. Midway was called, I answered, and received the 
following : 

'Lexington, July is, 1862. 
'To J. W. Woolums, operator, Midway: 

'Will there be any danger in coming to Midway? Is every thing 
right? 'Taylor, Conductor.' 

"I inquired of my prisoner (the operator) if he knew a man by the 
name of Taylor. He said Taylor was the conductor. I immediately 
gave Taylor the following reply: 

'Midway, July 15, 1862. 
'To Taylor, Lexington: 

'All right ; come on. No sign of any rebels here. 


"The operator in Cincinnati then called Frankfort. I answered and 
received about a dozen unimportant dispatches. He had no sooner 
finished than Lexington called Frankfort. Again I answered, and 
received the following message : 

'Lexington, July 15, 1862. 
'To General hinnell, Frankfort: 

T wish to move the forces at Frankfort, on the line of the Lexing- 
ton railroad, immediately, and have the cars follow and take them up as 
soon as possible. Further" orders will await them at Midway. I will, 
in three or four hours, move forward on the Georgetown pike; will 
have most of my men mounted. Morgan left Versailles this morning 
with eight hundred and fifty men, on the Midway road, moving in 
the direction of Georgetown. 

'Brigadier-Generai, Ward.' 

morgan's cavalry. 125 

"This being our position and intention exactly, it was thought proper 
to throw General Ward on some other track. So, in the course of half 
an hour, I manufactured and sent the following dispatch, which was 
approved by General Morgan : 

'Midway, July 15, 1862. 
'To Brigadier-General Ward, Lexington: 

'Morgan, with upward of one thousand men, came within a mile of 
here, and took the old Frankfort road, marching, we suppose, for 
Frankfort. This is reliable. 

'Wooujms, Operator.' 

"In about ten minutes Lexington again called Frankfort, when I 
received the following: 

'Lexington, July 15, 1862. 
'To General Finnell, Frankfort: 

'Morgan, with more than one thousand men, came within a mile of 
here, and took the old Frankfort road. This dispatch received from 
Midway, and is reliable. The regiment from Frankfort had better 
be recalled. 'Brigadier-General Ward/ 

"I receipted for this message, and again manufactured a message 
to confirm the information General Ward received from Midway, and 
not knowing the tariff from Frankfort to Lexington, I could not send 
a formal message; so, appearing greatly agitated, I waited until the 
circuit was occupied and broke in, telling them to wait a minute, and 
commenced calling Lexington. He answered with as much gusto as 
I called him. I telegraphed as follows: 

'Frankfort to Lexington: 

'Tell General Ward our pickets are just driven in. Great excitement. 
Pickets say the force of enemy must be two thousand. 


"It was now 2 p. m., and General Morgan wished to be off for George- 
town. I ran a secret ground connection and opened the circuit on 
the Lexington end. This was to leave the impression that the Frank- 
fort operator was skedaddling, or that Morgan's men had destroyed the 

The command reached Georgetown just at sundown. 
A small force of Home Guards had mustered there to op- 
pose us. Morgan sent them word to surrender, and they 
should not be hurt. The leader of this band is said to 
have made his men a speech of singular eloquence and 
stirring effect. If he was reported correctly, he told them 
that "Morgan, the marauder and murderer — the accursed 
of the Union men of Kentucky," was coming upon them. 
That, in "his track everywhere prevailed terror and desola- 
tion. In his rear, the smoke of burning towns was ascend- 

126 morgan's cavalry. 

ing, the blood of martyred patriots was streaming, the 
wails of widowed women and orphan children were re- 
sounding. In his front, Home Guards and soldiers were 
flying." That "Tom Long reported him just outside of 
town, with ten or twelve thousand men, armed with long 
beards and butcher knives;" and the orator thought that 
they "had better scatter and take care of themselves." 
They accordingly "scattered" at full speed. 

Several prisoners (Southern sympathizers) were con- 
fined in the court house; among them, a man whom 
many Kentuckians have a lively recollection of — poor 
Will Webb. He, upon seeing the Home Guards flee, 
thrust his body half out of a window, and pointing to the 
stars and stripes still flying, apostrophized the fugitives in 
terms that ought to have made a sutler fight. "Are you 
going to desert your flag?" he said. "Remain, and per- 
form the pleasing duty of dying under its glorious folds, 
and afford us the agreeable spectacle that you will thus 
present." This touching appeal was of no avail. 

The geographical situation of Georgetown with rela- 
tion to the towns of that portion of Kentucky — especially 
those occupied by Federal troops — made it an excellent 
point for Colonel Morgan's purposes. He was in a cen- 
tral position here, nearly equidistant from all points of 
importance, and could observe and checkmate movements 
made from any of them. Georgetown is twelve miles 
from Lexington and eighteen from Frankfort, the two 
points from which he had chiefly to anticipate attack. Al- 
though not directly between these two places, George- 
town is so nearly on a line with each, that its possession 
enabled him to prevent communication of any kind be- 
tween the troops occupying them. 

As the command greatly needed rest, Colonel Morgan 
remained here (where he felt more secure, for the 
reasons I have mentioned) during two days. He was not 
entirely idle, however, during that time. He sent Cap- 
tain Hamilton, with one company, to disperse a Home 
Guard organization at Stamping Ground, thirteen miles 


from Georgetown. Hamilton accomplished his mission, 
and burned the tents and destroyed the guns. Detach- 
ments were kept constantly at or near Midway to pre- 
vent any communication by the railroad between Lexing- 
ton and Frankfort. Captain Castleman was sent to de- 
stroy the bridges on the Kentucky Central Railroad be- 
tween Lexington and Paris, which he did; and also held 
in check a force of the enemy five times as strong as his 
own, and prevented it from reaching Cynthiana in time to 
take part in the fight there the next day. For other than 
strategic reasons Georgetown was an admirable selection 
as a resting point. The large majority of the people 
throughout this region were strongly Southern in senti- 
ment and sympathy, and their native inclination to hos- 
pitality was much enhanced by the knowledge that they 
were feeding their friends. There was a drawback in the 
apprehension of a visit from provost guards to investigate 
the circumstances of this profuse and practical sympathy 
with armed rebels. But they hit upon an expedient which 
they thought would obviate unpleasant afterclaps. They 
would give nothing of their own free will and accord; but 
forced us to "impress" everything that we needed. Many 
a time have I seen an old farmer unlock all the closets and 
presses in his house — press the keys of his meat-house 
into the hands of the commissary, point out to the quar- 
termaster where forage could be obtained, muster his ne- 
groes to cook and make themselves generally useful, pro- 
testing all the time that he was acting under the crudest 
compulsion; and then stand by, rubbing his hands and 
chuckling to think how well he had reconciled the indul- 
gence of his private sympathies with his public repute for 
loyalty. The old ladies, however, were serious obstacles 
to the establishment of these decorous records. They 
wished not only to give but to talk freely, and the more 
the husband wisely preached "policy" and an astute pru- 
dence the more certainly were his cobwebs of caution torn 
into shreds by the trenchant tongue of his wife. 

A good many recruits had been obtained at various 

128 morgan's cavalry. 

points in the State, and at Georgetown a full company 
was raised, of which W C. P Breckinridge, a young law- 
yer of Lexington, was elected captain. He had just run 
the blockade established around the latter town. 

While lying at Georgetown the command was encamped 
in line of battle, day and night, and scouting parties were 
sent three or four times a day toward Lexington, which 
were instructed to clear the road of the enemy's pickets 
and reconnoitering parties. While here Gano and Allen 
rejoined the column, having accomplished their respec- 
tive missions. 

Gano (in making a detour around Lexington) had 
driven in the pickets on every road, creating a fearful 
confusion in the place among its gallant defenders, and caus- 
ing the order that all rebel sympathizers seen on the streets 
should be shot to be emphatically reiterated. As Gano had 
approached Georgetown, after leaving Lexington and on his 
way to burn the bridges below Paris, an assemblage of a 
strange character occurred. He had formerly lived near 
Georgetown and knew nearly every man in the county. He 
stopped at the house of an intimate personal friend who was 
also a notorious "sympathizer," who lived four or five miles 
from Georgetown, and "forced" him to feed his men and 
horses. While there, two or three of the Southern citizens 
of Scott, among them Stoddard Johnston (afterward lieu- 
tenant-colonel on General Breckinridge's staff) came to the 
house and were immediately and with great solemnity 
placed under arrest. 

Shortly afterward the assistant provost marshal of 
Georgetown came out to protect the house and grounds 
from any disorder that the troops might be inclined to 
indulge in, thinking (in his simplicity) when he heard that 
troops were quartered there they must be "Union." The 
owner of the house of course interceded for him, and 
Gano pleased wih the motive which had actuated him, 
promised to detain him only until he himself moved again. 

In a short time another arrival was announced. The 
most determined and uncompromising Union man in 

morgan's cavalry. 129 

Georgetown came galloping up the road to the house, and 
asked in a loud and authoritative tone for the commander 
of the detachment. Gano walked forth and greeted him. 
"Why, how are you, Dick," said the newcomer. "I didn't 
know that you were in the Union army; I've got some- 
thing for you to do, old fellow." Gano assured him that 
he was delighted to hear it. "Where is the commander 
of these men?" continued the "dauntless patriot." "I am 
their commander," said Gano. "Well, then, here's an order 
for you," said the bearer of dispatches, handing him a 
communication from the Home Guard headquarters in 
Georgetown. Gano read it. "Oliver," he then said, 
slowly and very impressively, "I should be truly sorry to 
see you injured; we were schoolmates and I remember 
our early friendship." Oliver's jaw fell and his intelligent 
eye grew glassy with apprehension, but his feelings would 
not permit him to speak. "Oliver," continued Gano after 
a pause (and keeping his countenance remarkably) "isn't 
it possible you may be mistaken in these troops? To 
which army do you think they belong?" "Why," gasped 
Oliver, "ain't they Union?" "Union!" echoed Gano with 
a groan of horror, "don't let them hear you say so; I 
mightn't be able to control them. They are Morgan's 
Texas Rangers." He then led the half-fainting Oliver, 
who under the influence of this last speech had became 
"even as a little child," to the house and placed him with 
the other prisoners. 

Saddest and most inconsolable of these were the sym- 
pathizers who had come purposely to be captured. When 
the hour drew near for Gano's departure, he held a brief 
conference with the "secesh" and then paroled the whole 
batch, including his host, binding them not to divulge 
anything which they had seen or heard. All were im- 
pressed with the solemn nature of this obligation, but the 
melancholy gravity of Johnston (who had suggested it) 
was even awful. 

Colonel Morgan, finding how strongly Lexington was 


garrisoned, gave up all thought of attacking it, but it was 
high time that he made his arrangements to return to 
Dixie. He determined to make a dash at Cynthiana, the 
county seat of Harrison county, situated on the Kentucky 
Central Railroad, thirty-two miles from Lexington and 
about twenty-two by turnpike from Georgetown. By 
moving in this direction and striking a blow at this point, 
he hoped to induce the impression that he was aiming at 
Cincinnati, and at the same time thoroughly bewilder the 
officer in command at Lexington regarding his real inten- 
tions. When he reached Cynthiana he would be master 
of three or four routes, by either of which he could leave 
Kentucky, completely eluding his pursuers, and he did not 
doubt that he could defeat whatever force might be col- 
lected there. 

He left Georgetown on the morning of the 18th, hav- 
ing first dispatched parts of two companies to drive all 
scouts and detachments of every kind into Lexington. 
While moving rapidly with the bulk of his command 
toward Cynthiana, these detachments protected his march 
and prevented it from being discovered too soon. Cyn- 
thiana was occupied by three or four hundred men of Met- 
calfe's regiment of cavalry and about the same number of 
Home Guards, all under command of Lieutenant-Colonel 
Landrum, of Metcalfe's regiment. There was but one 
piece of artillery in the town, a brass twelve-pound how- 
itzer. We struck the pickets a mile or two from the town, 
and the advance guard chased them in, capturing three or 
four. General Morgan had previously determined upon 
his dispositions for the attack, well knowing the country, 
and they were made immediately after the alarm to the 
pickets. Between us and the town was the Licking river, 
crossed at the Georgetown pike on which we were march- 
ing by a narrow, covered bridge. Just by the side of the 
bridge there was a ford about waist deep. Nowhere else, 
in the then stage of water, was the river fordable in that 
immediate vicinity. But above and below about a mile, 
respectively, from |he bridge were fords, and to these 


were sent, Gano above, and the Georgians below, with in- 
structions to cross and attack the town upon the respec- 
tive quarters by which they approached it. The Second 
Kentucky was ordered to attack upon the road by which 
we had advanced. 

The enemy held all the houses upon the opposite bank 
of the river, which runs close to the town, and opened a 
smart fire of musketry upon the regiment as it advanced. 
Companies A and B were deployed upon the right of the 
road, E and F upon the left, and C was held in reserve, 
mounted; the advance guard had been sent with Gano. 
The recruits, most of whom were unarmed, were of 
course, kept in the rear. The howitzers were planted near 
the road about three hundred and fifty yards from the 
bridge, and were opened at once upon the house occupied 
by the enemy. 

The enemy's single piece of artillery swept the bridge 
and road, and commanded the position where the how- 
itzers were stationed. Companies E and F advanced to 
the river's edge and poured such a fire across the narrow 
stream that they compelled the troops exposed to it to 
throw down their guns and surrender. They were then 
made to swim the river in order to join their captors. In 
the meantime, Company A, after having been repulsed 
two or three times in attempting to rush across the bridge, 
plunged into the river, and holding their guns and am- 
munition above their heads, crossed at the ford above 
mentioned and effected a lodgment on the other side, but 
suffered smart loss. For awhile those first over were 
compelled to take shelter behind a long warehouse near 
the bridge, and even when the entire company had gotten 
over and assistance been sent it, it seemed that the enemy, 
who concentrated to oppose us here and redoubled his fire, 
would drive all back. The adjacent houses and yards were 
filled with sharpshooters, who poured in telling volleys as 
the men sought to close with them. 

The lines were at this point not more than forty yards 


apart, and most of our loss was sustained here and by 
Company A. 

The howitzers were brought up and posted on the cor- 
ner, but the close fire drove the gunners away. One gun- 
ner named Talbot loaded and fired his piece two or three 
times by himself, while the balls were striking it. He was 
afterward made a lieutenant. The team of one of the 
pieces, smarting with wounds, ran away with the limber 
and carried it into the midst of the enemy. This check 
did not last more than three or four minutes. Company 
C charged across the bridge and up the principal street, 
on horseback, losing three or four men only and distract- 
ing the enemy's attention. Company B got a position 
on the other bank where they could shoot right into the 
party which was holding Company A in check. The lat- 
ter made a determined rush, at the head of which were 
Sergeants Drake and Quirk and Private James Moore, of 
Louisiana, a little fellow not yet sixteen years old, who 
fell with two severe wounds, but recovered to make one 
of the most gallant officers of our command. In this dash, 
Sergeant Quirk, out of ammunition and seeing his friend 
Drake in imminent peril, knocked down his assailant with 
a stone. The enemy then gave way ; the other companies 
were, in the meantime, brought up to press them. 

Gano came in on the one side and the Georgians on the 
other, each driving all opponents before them. The 
Texans, Georgians and Kentuckians arrived simulta- 
neously at the piece of artillery, which the enemy had kept 
busily employed all the time. It was immediately taken, 
each claiming its capture. 

The enemy immediately evacuated the town and re- 
treated eastwardly, but were closely pressed and the bet- 
ter part captured. Greenfell headed a charge upon the 
depot, in which some of them took refuge. He received 
eleven bullets through his horse, person and clothes, but 
was only slightly wounded. A curious little scarlet skull 
cap, which he used to wear, was perforated. It fitted so 
tight upon his head that I previously thought a ball could 
not have gone through it without blowing his brains out. 


Colonel Landrum was chased eight or ten miles. Little 
Billy Peyton, a mere boy (Colonel Morgan's orderly), but 
perfectly fearless, followed him closely and exhausted two 
pistols without hitting him. The Colonel was riding a 
superb horse, which attracted attention to but saved him. 
The enemy's loss was about ninety in killed and wounded; 
ours was about forty. Four hundred and twenty prison- 
ers were taken. 

It would be an unfair description of this fight if men- 
tion were omitted of the gallant conduct of the recruits. 
Although enlisted only a day or two before, they behaved 
like veterans. Plenty of fine guns, with ammunition, were 
captured ; also a large quantity of stores and two or three 
hundred horses. 

Cynthiana, like Georgetown and Versailles, was full of 
our devoted friends, and we felt satisfied that the wounded 
we were obliged to leave behind us would be well taken 
care of. Two men who subsequently died of their 
wounds, Privates George Arnold and Beverley Clarke, be- 
haved with such conspicuous gallantry and were always so 
noted for good conduct that their loss caused universal re- 
gret. Arnold was a member of the advance guard, and 
volunteered to accompany Company C in the charge 
through the town. He fell with an arm and a thigh broken. 
Clarke undertook to carry an order through the enemy's 
line to Gano, who was in their rear, and fell pierced 
through the body with five balls. The best men were 
among the killed. Private William Craig, of Company A, 
first to cross the river, was killed as he mounted the bank. 
All of the other officers having been wounded, the com- 
mand of Company A devolved upon the third lieutenant, 
S. D. Morgan. 

Leaving Cynthiana at 1 or 2 P M., the command 
marched for Paris. About five miles from that place we 
encountered a deputation of citizens, coming out to sur- 
render the town. We reached Paris about sundown and 
rested there during the night. 


I have omitted to mention that at Georgetown Lieu- 
tenant Niles was appointed by Colonel Morgan upon his 
staff, and P H. Thorpe, formerly captain in the First Ken- 
tucky Infantry, was made adjutant in his stead. I mention 
these appointments as if they were regular and valid, be- 
cause they were all so in the end. 

R. A. Alston, formerly a member of a South Carolina 
regiment of cavalry, but a member and private at the time 
of Company A, Second Kentucky, had been selected at 
Knoxville by Colonel Morgan to perform the duties of 
adjutant-general. He was permitted to recruit a com- 
pany during the raid in order that he might obtain the 
rank of captain. He got his commission, and was con- 
tinued upon staff duty, although Greenfell immediately 
after the conclusion of this raid became adjutant-general. 

The next morning after our arrival at Paris, a large 
force came down the Lexington road and about 8 A. M. 
gave us strong reasons for resuming our march. This 
force, about twenty-five hundred or three thousand men, 
was commanded by General Green Clay Smith. Our 
scouts had notified us of its approach the previous night, 
and as the command was encamped on the Winchester 
road, the one which we wished to take, there was no dan- 
ger of it cutting us off. It came on very slowly and there 
was at no time any determined effort made to engage us. 
If a dash had been made at us when we prepared to leave 
we could have been compelled to fight, for although the 
prisoners had all been paroled we were very much incum- 
bered with carriages containing wounded men, brought 
off from Cynthiana and other points. 

Morgan always made it a point to carry off every 
wounded man who could be safely moved ; in this way he 
prevented much of the demoralization attending the fear 
the men felt of falling, when wounded, into the hands of 
the enemy. 

The command reached Winchester about 12 M. and re- 
mained there until 4 P. M., when the march was taken up 
again and we crossed the Kentucky river just before dark. 

morgan's cavalry. 135 

Marching on, we reached Richmond at 4 the next morn- 
ing. Here we met with another very kind reception, and 
were joined by a company of recruits under Captain Jen- 
nings. It was admitted into the Second Kentucky as 
Company K. Leaving Richmond at 4 P M. that day we 
marched toward Crab Orchard, and reached that place 
about daybreak next morning. 

It had, at first, been Colonel Morgan's intention to 
make a stand at Richmond, as the whole population 
seemed inclined to join him, but his real strength was now 
known to the enemy, and they were collecting to attack 
him in such numbers that he concluded that it was too 
hazardous. He would have had to fight three battles at 
least, against superior forces, and to have won all before 
he would have been safe. 

General Smith was following him, Woolford was col- 
lecting forces to the southward to intercept him, and 
troops were coming from Louisville and other points to 
push after him. In the march from Paris to Crab Orchard 
a good many wagons and a large number of rifles were 
captured, and all — wagons and guns — that were not 
needed were burned. The horses captured with the 
twelve-pounder at Cynthiana gave out and died before we 
reached the Kentucky river. 

Leaving Crab Orchard at 11 A. M., the command 
moved toward Somerset and reached that place about 
sundown. The telegraph was again taken possession of, 
and Colonel Morgan instructed Ellsworth to counter- 
mand all of General Boyle's orders for pursuit. At Crab 
Orchard and Somerset one hundred and thirty govern- 
ment wagons were captured and burned. At Somerset a 
great many stores of all kinds, blankets, shoes, etc., were 
found. Several wagons were loaded with as much as 
could be conveniently carried away and the rest were de- 
stroyed. Arms and ammunition for small arms and ar- 
tillery, were also found in abundance and were destroyed. 

From Somerset the column marched to Stagall's ferry 
on the Cumberland river and crossed there. We reached 

136 morgan's cavalry. 

Monticello, twenty-one miles from the river, that night, 
but all danger was over when we had gotten safely across 
the river. The next day we proceeded leisurely toward 
Livingston, having a little excitement with the bush- 
whackers but suffering no loss. 

For several days after leaving Somerset, and indeed af- 
ter reaching Livingston, we suffered greatly for want of 
rations, as this country was almost bare of provisions. 
Colonel Morgan's objects in making this raid, viz : to ob- 
tain recruits and horses, to thoroughly equip and arm his 
men, to reconnoiter for the grand invasion in the fall and 
to teach the enemy that we could reciprocate the compli- 
ment of invasion, were pretty well accomplished. Enough 
of spare horses and more than enough of extra guns, sad- 
dles, etc., were brought out to supply all the men who had 
been left behind. A great many prisoners were taken of 
whom I have made no mention. But the results of the 
expedition are best summed up in the words of Colonel 
Morgan's report: 

"I left Knoxville on the 4th day of this month, with about nine 
hundred men, and returned to Livingston on the 28th inst. with nearly 
twelve hundred, having been absent just twenty-four days, during 
which time I have traveled over a thousand miles, captured seventeen 
towns, destroyed all the Government supplies and arms in them, dispersed 
about fiften hundred Home Guards and paroled nearly twelve hundred 
regular troops. I lost in killed, wounded and missing of the number 
that I carried into Kentucky about ninety." 

One practice was habitually pursued, on this raid, that 
may be remembered by some of our friends in the State 
for whose benefit it was done. Great pains were always 
taken to capture the most bitter Union man in each town 
and neighborhood — the one who was most inclined to 
bear down on Southern men — especially if he were pro- 
vost marshal. He would be kept sometimes a day or two, 
and thoroughly frightened. Colonel Morgan, who de- 
rived infinite amusement from such scenes, would gravely 
assure each one, when brought into his presence, that one 
of the chief objects of the raid was to catch him. It was 
a curious sight to see the mixed terror and vanity this 


declaration would generally excite; even in the agonies 
of anticipated death the prisoner would be sensibly 
touched by the compliment. After awhile, however, a 
compromise would be effected; the prisoner would be 
released upon the implied condition that he was in the 
future to exert himself to protect Southern people. It 
was thought better to turn all the captured provost mar- 
shals loose and let them resume their functions than to 
carry them off and let new men be appointed with whom 
no understanding could be had. 

Ellsworth wound up his operations at Somerset with 
complimentary dispatches from Colonel Morgan to Gen- 
eral Jerry Boyle, Prentice, and others, and concluded 
with the following general order on his own part to the 
Kentucky telegraphic operators : 

'Headquarters, Telegraph Department of Kentucky, 
Confederate States oe America. 
'General Order No. i. 

"When an operator is positively informed that the enemy is march- 
ing on his station, he will immediately proceed to destroy the telegraphic 
instruments and all material in his charge. Such instances of careless- 
ness, as were exhibited on the part of the operators at Lebanon, Midway, 
and Georgetown, will be severely dealt with. By order of 

G. A. Ellsworth, 
General Military Supt. Confederate States Telegraphic Dept." 

At Livingston Colonel Morgan left the Second Ken- 
tucky and proceeded to Knoxville, taking with him the 
Georgians, Gano's squadron, and the howitzers — which 
needed some repairs. After remaining at Livingston 
three days, I marched the regiment to Sparta, where 
more abundant supplies could be obtained and facilities 
for shoeing horses could be had. 

While at Livingston, the men suffered extremely with 
hunger and one man declared his wish to quit a service in 
which he was subjected to such privations. He was de- 
prived of his horse, arms and equipments, and "blown 
out" of the regiment; that is, upon dress parade, he was 
marched down the front of the regiment (after his of- 
fense and the nature of the punishment had been read by 

138 morgan's cavalry. 

the adjutant), with the bugler blowing the "Skedaddle" 
behind him amid the hisses of the men who were thor- 
oughly disgusted with him ; he was then driven away from 
the camp. 

As soon as the Second Kentucky was placed in camp at 
Sparta a much stricter system was adopted than had ever 
prevailed before. Camp guards were regularly posted in 
order to keep the men in camp; and as staying in camp 
closely was something they particularly disliked, the guard 
had to be doubled, until finally nearly one-half of the regi- 
ment had to be put on to watch the rest. Guard-mount- 
ing, dress-parades and drills (company and regimental, 
on foot and on horseback), were had daily, much to the 
edification and improvement of the recruits, who rapidly 
acquired instruction, and quite as much to the disgust of 
the old hands who thought that they "knew it all." In 
one respect, however, they were all equally assiduous and 
diligent, which was in the care of their horses and atten- 
tion to their arms and accoutrements — no man had ever 
to be reproved or punished for neglect of these duties. 
The regiment now numbered about seven hundred men, 
nearly all of the recruits obtained in Kentucky having 
joined it. 

It was then in the flush of hope and confidence, com- 
posed of the best material Kentucky could afford, and 
looked forward to a career of certain success and glory. 
The officers were with scarcely an exception very young 
men; almost every one of them had won his promotion 
by energy and gallantry, and all aspired to yet further 
preferment. The men were of just such stuff as the offi- 
cers, and all relied upon, in their turn, winning promo- 

While the regiment was at Sparta, Colonel John Scott 
also came with his own fine regiment, the First Louisiana, 
and a portion of our old friends, the Eighth Texas. Col- 
onel Scott was one of the most active, efficient, and daring 
cavalry officers in the Western Confederate army. He 
had performed very successful and brilliant service during 


the spring, in North Alabama, and had lately served with 
Forrest in the latter's dashing operations in Middle Ten- 
nessee. While we were all at Sparta together Buell's 
army began to concentrate and a large part of it under 
Nelson came to McMinnville. 

McMinnville is twenty-eight miles from Sparta, and a 
force of infantry, preceded by two or three hundred cav- 
alry, came one day to the bridge over Calf Killer creek, 
on the McMinnville road, within five miles of Sparta. 
Colonel Scott sent Major Harrison (afterward brigadier- 
general) of the Eighth Texas, with two or three compa- 
nies of the First Louisiana and as many of the Eighth 
Texas, to drive them back. Harrison fell on them in his 
usual style, and they went back immediately One or two 
of them were killed and a few prisoners were taken. 

I sent Lieutenant Manly, of my regiment, about this 
time, to ascertain the disposition of Buell's forces. He 
reported, in a few days, that there were three thousand 
and six hundred men at Nashville, a great many of them 
convalescents ; four thousand at Columbia ; three thou- 
sand at Pulaski; three thousand at Shelbyville; at Mc- 
Minnville twelve thousand under General Nelson. At 
points on the Tennessee river, in Alabama, about two 

Generals Bragg and Smith were then preparing for the 
invasion of Kentucky. Bragg lay at Chattanooga with 
about thirty thousand men. We confidently expected 
that he would dash across the river, while Buell's army 
was thus scattered, break through it, take Nashville and 
pick up the fragments at his leisure. He gave Buell a 
little time and the latter concentrated with a quickness 
that seemed magical, protected Nashville and was ready 
for the race into Kentucky. Buell's own friends have 
censured him severely, but that one exhibition of energy 
and skill satisfied his enemies (that is, the Confederates) 
of his calibre and we welcomed his removal with gratifi- 

*He made no estimate of the number of troops at other than these 


cation. Manly also reported that rolling stock was being 
collected, from all the roads, at Nashville and that wagon 
trains were being gotten together at convenient points. 
This indicated pretty clearly that a concentration was 
contemplated for some purpose. 

After remaining a few days at Sparta, Colonel Scott 
received orders to report with his command to General 
Kirby- Smith, whose headquarters were at Knoxville. 
Shortly afterward, Colonel Morgan reached Sparta, bring- 
ing with him Gano's squadron and Company G. Gano's 
two companies numbered now, however, only one hun- 
dred and ten effectives ; he had left a good many sick at 
Knoxville who did not rejoin us for some time. The 
howitzers, to our great regret, were left behind. 

A day or two after Colonel Morgan's arrival, we set out 
to surprise the Federal garrison at Gallatin, distant about 
seventy or eighty miles. Morgan had received instruc- 
tions to break the railroad between Louisville and Nash- 
ville in order to retard Buell's retreat to Louisville as 
greatly as possible, also to engage the Federal cavalry 
and prevent them from paying attention to what was go- 
ing on in other quarters. Gallatin seemed to him an ex- 
cellent point at which to commence operations with all 
these views. 

On the way, he was joined by Captain Joseph Desha 
(formerly of the First Kentucky Infantry) with twenty 
or thirty men. Captain Desha's small detachment was 
received into the Second Kentucky and he was promised 
recruits enough to make him a full company. He soon 
got them and his company was duly lettered L of the 

Crossing the Cumberland at Sand Shoals ford, three 
miles from Carthage, on the day after we left Sparta, we 
reached Dixon Springs, twenty-eight miles from Gallatin, 
about 2 or 3 P M., and, as our coming had been an- 
nounced by couriers sent on in advance, we found that the 
friendly and hospitable citizens had provided abundant 
supplies for men and horses. It was a convincing proof 


of the unanimity of sentiment in that region that while 
hundreds knew of our march and destination not one was 
found to carry the information to the enemy. Just before 
dark the march was resumed and we reached Hartsville, 
sixteen miles from Gallatin, about n o'clock at night. 
Pressing on through Hartsville without halting, the col- 
umn turned off from the turnpike a few miles from Galla- 
tin, entirely avoiding the pickets, which were captured 
by scouts sent after we had gained their rear. 

As we entered Gallatin, Captain Desha was sent forward 
with a small party to capture Colonel Boone, the Fed- 
eral commander, who, as we had learned, was in the habit 
of sleeping in town. Desha reached the house where he 
was quartered and found him dressed and just about to 
start to camp. It was now about daybreak. Colonel 
Morgan immediately saw Boone and represented to him 
that he had better write to the officer in command at the 
camp, advising him to surrender in order to spare the 
"effusion of blood," etc. This Boone consented to do, 
and his letter was at once dispatched to the camp under 
flag of truce. It had the desired effect, and the garrison 
fell into our hands without firing a shot. Two companies 
had been sent off for some purpose and escaped capture. 
About two hundred prisoners were taken, including a 
good many officers. As these troops were infantry, no 
horses were captured with them, but during the forenoon 
a train arrived with some eighty very fine ones, en route 
for Nashville. Two or three hundred excellent Spring- 
field rifles were captured, with which all the inferior guns 
were replaced. Some valuable stores were also captured 
and wagoned off to Hartsville. The prisoners were 
paroled and sent off northward during that and the fol- 
lowing day. The Government freight train seized num- 
bered nineteen cars laden with forage for the cavalry at 
Nashville. Efforts were made to decoy the train from 
Nashville, but unsuccessfully. 

When Ellsworth "took the chair" at Gallatin, he first, in 
accordance with Colonel Morgan's instructions, tele- 


graphed in Colonel Boone's name to the commandant at 
Bowling Green to send him reinforcements, as he ex- 
pected to be attacked. But this generous plan to capture 
and parole soldiers, who wished to go home and see their 
friends, miscarried. Then he turned his attention to 
Nashville. The operator there was suspicious and put a 
good many questions, all of which were successfully an- 

At length the train he wished sent was started, but 
when it got within six miles of Gallatin a negro signaled 
it and gave the alarm. A railroad bridge between Galla- 
tin and Nashville was then destroyed and the fine tunnel, 
six miles above, was rendered impassable for months. 
The roof of the tunnel was of a peculiar rock which was 
liable at all times to disintegrate and tumble down; to 
remedy this huge beams, supported by strong uprights, 
had been stretched horizontally across the tunnel and a 
sort of scaffolding had been built upon these beams. A 
good deal of wood work was consequently put up. Some 
freight cars were run into the tunnel and set on fire and 
this wood work was ignited. The fire smouldered on, 
after it had ceased to burn fiercely, for a long time and it 
was weeks before any repairs could be attempted on ac- 
count of the intense heat and the huge masses of rock 
which were constantly falling. This tunnel is eight hun- 
dred feet long. 

In the "History of the Louisville and Nashville Rail- 
road during the war," the superintendent, Mr. Albert 
Fink, whose energy to repair was equal to Morgan's to 
destroy, says of the year commencing July i, 1862, and 
ending July 1, 1863, "the road has been operated for its 
entire length only seven months and twelve days." He 
says, moreover, "All the bridges and trestlework on the 
main stem and branches, with the exception of the bridge 
over Barren river and four small bridges, were destroyed 
and rebuilt during the year; some of the structures were 
destroyed twice, and some three times. In addition to 
this, most of the water stations, several depots, and a 



large number of cars were burnt, a number of engines 
badly damaged, and a tunnel in Tennessee nearly filled up 
for a distance of eight hundred feet." 

This shows a great activity to destroy but wonderful 
patience and industry to repair It was by this road that 
the Federal army in Tennessee got its supplies and rein- 
forcements almost altogether during the greater part of 
the year. In the same report the writer goes on to say : 
"General Morgan took possession of the Louisville and 
Nashville road at Gallatin, in August, 1862, and this, with 
other causes, forced General Buell's retreat to Louis- 

Lieutenant Manly and a few men were left at Gallatin 
to burn the amphitheatre at the fair-grounds, where 
Boone's regiment had been quartered. The command 
left Gallatin about 12 o'clock that night — the 12th of Au- 
gust — and returned to Hartsville, where it remained until 
the 19th. During that time men and horses were en- 
tirely rested. We were encamped in a lovely woodland 
covered with grass like green velvet and watered by a 
broad, limpid stream. The citizens provided us with 
forage and abundant rations of every description. 

On the 13th of August, the day after we left Gallatin, 
a Federal force of about twelve hundred men with four 
pieces of artillery came there, and drove Lieutenant 
Manly and his party away. Manly was killed, as we 
learned, after he had surrendered. Sergeant Quirk, of 
Company A, was sent with fifteen men on a scout to 
Gallatin, next day. He found, when he got there, that 
this force had left on the way to Nashville. He followed, 
and overtook it about three miles from Gallatin, as it was 
preparing to get on the cars. He attacked immedi- 
ately, killed two or three, and captured a few prisoners. 
The artillery was opened upon him with canister, but did 
him no damage. 

On the 19th, Colonel Morgan received information 
that a force of some three hundred infantry had come to 
Gallatin and on that evening he started out in pursuit. 


He had hoped to surprise them in the town, but learned 
on the road that they had left at midnight, and were on 
their way back to Nashville. Captain Hutchinson, of 
Company E of the Second Kentucky, was sent with his 
company to intercept them, if possible, at a point seven 
miles below Gallatin, where a bridge had been burned on 
the railroad, and where it was thought that, probably, a 
train would be waiting to take them back. The rest of 
the command pushed on to Gallatin and reached that 
place about 8 o'clock on the morning of the 20th. We 
found that the enemy had taken off nearly every male in- 
habitant of the place above the age of twelve, and the 
women were all in terrible distress when we arrived. We 
also found the corpse of one of our men, killed the night 
before, and the citizens told us that he had been kicked 
and cuffed after he was shot. As we passed out of town, 
on the Nashville pike, we saw on the bridge the stain of 
Manly's blood. The men became very much excited and 
could scarcely be kept in ranks. As we pressed on down 
the road, we reached the point where Hutchinson had 
been directed to intercept the enemy. He had failed to 
do this, but had captured a stockade garrisoned by forty 
or fifty men. He overtook the party after which he 
started, but they had passed the point at which he could 
have checked them. 

Another garrison of fifty men was captured at a stock- 
ade still lower down, and we came soon after upon the 
men we were looking for. We could not prevent the 
escape of the greater portion, who got on hand cars and 
ran down the road, but we killed some forty and released 
all the prisoners. At Edgefield Junction, First Lieuten- 
ant Jas. Smith who reached that point first with a part of 
his company (A of the Second Kentucky) attacked the 
stockade, there, supported by Captain Breckinridge, who 
shortly afterward arrived. The inmates of the stockade 
made fight and Smith lost three of his men, and was him- 
self shot through the head, of which wound he soon died.* 

*He was then suffering from an unhealed wound, received at Cynthiana, 

morgan's cavalry. 145 

Lieutenant Niles, of Morgan's staff, was also killed at this 
point, shot through the body with five or six balls. I 
came up at the time that these officers were shot and 
ordered the men back. I saw no chance of capturing the 
stockade, even with great loss, in the time that would be 
allowed us. 

These stockades were built of heavy upright timber ten 
or twelve feet high. They were surrounded by ditches 
and pierced for musketry. 

Colonel Morgan was much attached to both Smith and 
Niles, and it was with great difficulty that he could be 
dissuaded from continuing to attack until the stockade 
was taken. Lieutenant Smith had been one of the best 
soldiers in the Squadron, and had given universal satisfac- 
tion by his conduct as an officer. He was more than or- 
dinarily brave, intelligent and zealous, and would have 
been made a field-officer if he had lived a few months 
longer. His men were devotedly attached to him. The 
repulse at this stockade made us more than ever regret 
the absence of the howitzers. With them we could have 
battered it down directly. It was lucky that Hutchinson 
had caught the garrison of the first one captured outside 
of its walls, and as they attempted to enter his men rushed 
in with them. The other stockade taken surrendered 
without firing a shot. This was a very exciting day; the 
chase and succession of skirmishes made the whole affair 
very interesting. 

Returning to Gallatin, we met the people of the adja- 
cent country coming with vehicles of every description to 
convey their recaptured friends home. The latter, all very 
aged men, weary and foot-sore, were plodding along as best 
they might, except when our men would take them behind 
them or dismount and let them ride. There was a scene of 
wild congratulation in town, that evening, when they all 
got in. 

That night the entire command encamped in the fair 
grounds. About 12 o'clock, Colonel Morgan received 
information that a formidable Federal force had passed 

146 morgan's cavalry. 

through Hartsville on the previous afternoon, and was 
encamped at Castalian Springs, ten miles from Gallatin. 
He ordered the pickets to be strengthened in that direc- 
tion, and shrewd scouts were put out to watch their move- 
ments closely, but he did not disturb the command, wish- 
ing that it should be rested for the next day's work. He 
had been informed that infantry and artillery composed 
this force, as well as cavalry, and he knew that if the lat- 
ter waited on the former, he was in no danger of being 
forced into a fight that it might be imprudent to make. 
In the morning the scouts came in, saying that the enemy 
were rapidly advancing. The column was immediately 
put in motion but it was Colonel Morgan's intention to 
decline battle until more positively informed of the en- 
emy's strength, and when he reached the junction of the 
Hartsville and Scottsville turnpikes, at the eastern edge 
of the town, he turned off on the Scottsville pike, which 
runs nearly at right angles to the other, and northeast. 

The enemy, in the meantime, was pressing on vigor- 
ously, driving in the scouts and pickets. Colonel Mor- 
gan and myself had taken position at the junction of the 
two roads, as the column filed past, and fearing that we 
would be taken in flank, or that our rear would be at- 
tacked after the entire command had taken the Scotts- 
ville road, I advised him to form and fight, saying that I 
believed we could whip them. He answered that he 
could "get fights enough, but could not easily get such a 
command again, if he lost this one." Immediately after- 
ward, seeing the enemy come galloping down the road, 
he added, with a smile, "We will have to whip these fel- 
lows, sure enough. Form your men, and, as soon as you 
check them, attack." Gano, who was in the extreme 
rear, was ordered, as soon as his squadron arrived at the 
junction of the roads, to charge mounted and drive back 
the enemy's advance. He did so in his usual dashing, 
impetuous style. The enemy's advance guard was strong 
and determined, and met Gano's charge gallantly. As 
he led on his men, the enemy directed their fire princi- 


pally at him, but with the good fortune which attended 
him during four years of dangerous and incessant ser- 
vice he escaped unhurt, losing, by the shots aimed at him, 
only his hat and a few locks of hair, which latter was a 
loss he could well stand, although the other was a serious 
matter. After a brief struggle, Gano drove back the ad- 
vance, killing and wounding several. Our entire force, 
deducting one hundred men used as a guard for the pris- 
oners taken the day before, and other details, was about 
seven hundred strong. That of the enemy was about 
nine hundred. On the right of the Hartsville road, as 
our line faced, was a cornfield. This was immediately 
occupied by Companies I and K. On the left of the 
Hartsville pike and just east of the Scottsville road, was 
a woodland of some twenty acres. Company D. was 
deployed in this and immediately cleared it of the enemy, 
who had entered it and kept it until the line advanced. 
To the left of this woodland was a meadow five or six 
hundred yards in length and some three hundred broad ; 
to the left of this, again, was a cornfield. The column 
had gotten some distance upon the Scottsville pike be- 
fore the command to halt and face toward the enemy had 
been transmitted to its head, and when these companies 
mentioned had been formed there was a gap of nearly 
two hundred yards opened between them and the others 
that were farther to the front. Toward this gap the en- 
emy immediately darted. Believing that we were seeking 
to escape upon the Scottsville road, he had thrown the 
bulk of his force in that direction and it was formed and 
advanced rapidly and gallantly. Throwing down the 
eastern fence of the meadow, some three hundred poured 
into it, formed a long line, and dashed across it with 
sabers drawn toward the line of horses which they saw in 
the road beyond. Companies B, C, E and F were by this 
time dismounted, and had dropped on their knees behind 
the low fence on the road-side, as the enemy came rush- 
ing on. They held their fire until the enemy were within 
thirty yards, when they opened. Then was seen the 

148 morgan's cavalry. 

effect of a volley from that long thin line, which looked so 
easy to break, and yet whose fire was so deadly. Every 
man had elbow-room and took dead aim at an individual 
foe, and, as the blaze left the guns, two-thirds of the riders 
and horses seemed to go down. The cavalry was at once 
broken and recoiled. Our men sprang over the fence 
and ran close up to them, as they endeavored to retreat 
rapidly through the gaps in the fence by which they had 
entered, and poured in such another volley that the rout 
was completed. However, they reformed and came back, 
but only to be repulsed again. By this time the com- 
panies on the right had driven off their opponents in that 
direction, and had gotten a position where they could en- 
filade the enemy's line as it strove to advance, and in a 
little while it was forced back at all points. Gano 
charged again, and pressed them closely. After retreat- 
ing about half a mile the enemy halted and reformed upon 
a hill which ran for some hundreds of yards parallel with 
their former line, and on the crest of which were high 
fences and timber. 

As we repulsed them the last time some interesting in- 
cidents occurred. Captain Leabo, of the Second Indiana, 
dashed down upon our line, and coming on himself after 
his men turned back was made prisoner. Another indi- 
vidual was made prisoner in the same way, although he 
did not come with the same intent which inspired the gal- 
lant captain. The wildest looking fellow perhaps in the 
Federal army came rattling down the pike on a big sor- 
rel horse which he could not hold, his hair standing on 
end, his mouth wide open, his shirt collar flying by one 
end like a flag of truce and his eyes glazed. He was 
caught by the greatest wag in the command and perhaps 
in the Western army — the celebrated Jeff Sterritt. With 
a look of appalling ferocity, the captor exclaimed : "I 
don't know whether to kill you now or to wait until the 
fight's over." "For God's sake," said the captive, "don't 
kill me at all. I'm a dissipated character and not pre- 
pared to die." 


Company A and the advance guard had been held until 
this time in reserve on the extreme left. When our 
whole line was pressed forward after the retreating ene- 
my, I carried them rapidly in advance of the rest of the 
line and through the cornfield which concealed the move- 
ment upon the flank of the enemy's new line just as it was 
formed. The effect of their fire, then delivered at short 
range, was decisive, and the enemy instantly broke again, 
and this time made at all speed for the road and went 
off in full retreat. The bulk of the command was too far 
from the line of horses to mount and pursue promptly, 
but Gano pressed them closely again. 

Adjutant Wyncoop, son of the colonel of that name, 
was killed in this retreat as he was trying to rally his men. 
His body was removed to the side of the road, and lay 
there as we passed with a coat thrown over his face as 
if he were unwilling to look upon the rout of his com- 

The enemy fell back about three miles and halted again. 
Their loss had been very heavy and perhaps two hun- 
dred horses had been killed. Nearly all of the men thus 
dismounted were made prisoners. Colonel Morgan now 
learned that the officer in command of the troops he had 
been fighting was Brigadier-General Johnson, and be- 
came satisfied that the infantry and artillery with which 
the force had been at first provided was not in support- 
ing distance. We subsequently learned that it had been 
sent back to McMinnville a day or two before. 

Just as the horses were brought up and the men were 
mounted, a flag of truce came from General Johnson, pro- 
posing an armistice in order that he might bury his dead. 
Colonel Morgan answered that he could entertain no 
proposition except unconditional surrender, but shortly 
afterward sent offering to parole officers and men if a 
surrender were made. General Johnson replied that 
"catching came before hanging." Colonel Morgan re- 
solved upon immediate and vigorous pursuit, and believ- 
ing that in the broken and demoralized condition of the 


enemy he could safely attempt such a plan, he divided his 
force into three columns, sending them in different direc- 
tions in order to more certainly encounter the enemy, 
who had now more than three miles the start of us. Five 
companies were placed upon the left of the road under 
Major Morgan. Colonel Morgan himself kept the road 
with Gano's squadron, while I had the right with Com- 
panies A, B, and E, and the advance guard, in all about 
two hundred and twenty-five men. The road bends to 
the left at about the point where General Johnson had 
last halted; and as he turned off just there, in order to 
make for the river, the other two columns missed him 
altogether, and mine, pressing on rapidly in the direc- 
tion indicated, was so fortunate as to soon overtake him. 

The three companies were formed in parallel columns 
of fours, with full distance between them, and the ad- 
vance guard thrown out as skirmishers in front. When 
the enemy was neared, the whole force was thrown into 
line and advanced at a gallop. We were not more than 
fifty yards from the enemy when this was done, but there 
was a high stone wall between which our horses could 
not leap. This prevented us from closing with him, and 
enabled him to get some distance ahead of us. As we 
passed the wall the original formation was resumed, and 
we followed at good speed. Soon the advance guard, 
sent on again in front, reported that the enemy had halted 
and formed for fight. 

A short reconnoisance showed that they were dis- 
mounted and drawn up under a long hill and about forty 
yards from its crest, but their formation was defective in 
that instead of pressing a straight, uniform line, so that 
their numbers could tell, they were formed in the shape 
of a V, perhaps to meet any movement to flank them. 
The hill was one of those gentle undulations of the blue- 
grass pastures, which present perfectly smooth surfaces 
on either side and yet rise enough to conceal from those 
on the one side what is being done on the other. 

The three companies and the advance were immedi- 

morgan's cavalry. 151 

ately brought into line and dismounted under cover of 
the brow of the hill and moved to a position which would 
bring- the apex of the enemy's formation about opposite 
the center of our line. When we, then, charged .over the 
hill, although the enemy had some advantage in firing 
upward, it was more than counterbalanced by the fact 
that the men upon their flanks could not fire at us at all, 
while our whole line could fire without difficulty upon 
any portion of their formation. After a short but sharp 
fight they gave way again. Our loss in this skirmish was 
two killed. We captured General Johnson, his adjutant 
general, Major Winfrey, and several other officers and 
twenty or thirty privates. In the two engagements the 
enemy left sixty-four dead on the field and a number of 
wounded. About two hundred prisoners were taken. 

This force had been selected with great care from all 
the cavalry of Buell's army, and placed under General 
Johnson, regarded as one of their best and most dashing 
officers, for the express purpose of hunting Morgan. It 
was completely disorganized and shattered by this defeat. 
A great deal of censure was cast at the time upon these 
men, and they were accused of arrant cowardice by the 
Northern press. Nothing could have been more unjust, 
and many who joined in denouncing them afterward be- 
haved much more badly. They attacked with spirit and 
without hesitation, but were unable to close with us on 
account of their heavy loss in men and horses. They re- 
turned two or three times to the attack until they found 
their efforts unavailing. They could not use their sabres, 
and they found their breech-loading carbines only incum- 
brances. They may have shown trepidation and panic 
toward the last, but, to an enemy (while they were evi- 
dently trying to get away) they appeared resolute 
although dispirited. I have seen troops much more 
highly boasted than these were before their defeat be- 
have not nearly so well. Johnson had been very confi- 
dent. He had boasted as he passed through Hartsville, 


that he would "catch Morgan and bring him back in a 

Hearing the day before the fight that Forrest was in 
his rear, he had, very properly, pressed on to fight Mor- 
gan before the former came up. His attack was made 
promptly and in good style, his dispositions throughout 
the first fight were good, and he exhibited fine personal 
courage and energy. I could never understand his rea- 
son for giving battle the second time, without fresh 
troops, when his men were already dispirited by defeat 
and pressed by an enemy flushed with recent victory. 
He could have gotten off without a fight by a prompt re- 
treat immediately after his last message to Morgan, and 
protected by a judicious use of detachments composed of 
his best men as rear guards. He was evidently a fine offi- 
cer, but seemed not to comprehend the "new style of cav- 
alry" at all. 

Our loss in both engagements was seven killed and 
eighteen wounded. The conduct of men and officers was 
unexceptionable. Captains Cassell and Hutchinson and 
Lieutenant White, of the Second Kentucky, and Lieuten- 
ant Rogers of the advance guard were especially men- 
tioned. Nothing could have exceeded the dash and gal- 
lantry of the officers and men of Gano's squadron. The 
junior Captain Huffman had his arm shattered early in 
the action, but went through it all, despite the suffering 
he endured, at the head of his men. 

Colonel Morgan, in his address to his men, thus 
summed up the results of the last two days : 

"All communications cut off between Gallatin and Nashville; a 
body of infantry, three hundred strong, totally cut to pieces or taken 
prisoners; the liberation of those kind friends arrested by our revenge- 
ful foes, for no other reason than their compassionate care of our 
sick and wounded, would have been laurels sufficient for your brows. 
But, soldiers, the utter annihilation of General Johnson's brigade, com- 
posed of twenty-four picked companies, sent on purpose to take us, 
raises your reputation as soldiers, and strikes fear into the craven 
hearts of your enemies. General Johnson and his staff, with two hun- 
dred men taken prisoners, sixty-four killed and one hundred wounded, 
attests the resistance made, and bears testimony to your valor." 

morgan's cavalry. 153 

Having burned all the bridges the day before that were 
under his then immediate supervision and preferring 
Hartsville as a place for a somewhat lengthened encamp- 
ment, he returned to that place on the evening of the 
21st. A good writer and excellent officer of Morgan's 
old command very truly says in reference to the choice 
of Hartsville in this respect: "The selection of this little 
unknown village was a proof of Morgan's consummate 
strategic ability." It was a point where it was literally 
impossible to entrap him. While here a deserter taken 
in arms and fighting was tried by court-martial, sentenced 
and shot in presence of the command. 

Forrest reached Hartsville on the 22nd with a portion 
of his command. He had hurried on to reinforce Mor- 
gan before the latter fought Johnson, fearing that the en- 
tire original force of infantry, artillery and cavalry which 
had left McMinnville with Johnson would be too much 
for us. Learning that he was no longer needed in Sum- 
ner county, he crossed the river without delay, and in a 
day or two we heard of his sweeping every thing clean 
around Nashville. 

So demoralizing was the effect of the system of imme- 
diately paroling prisoners and sending them off by routes 
that prevented them from meeting troops of their own 
army, which had been instituted and practiced for some 
time previously to this date, that General Buell found it 
necessary to issue an order on the subject. 

Morgan and Forrest inaugurated the system and hun- 
dreds of men were induced to surrender by the facilities 
thus offered them of getting home, who, otherwise, would 
never have been captured. A man, thus paroled, was lost 
to the Federal army for months at least, for, even if not 
inclined to respect his parole it was hard for the authori- 
ties to find him. His gun and equipments, also, became 
ours. In his order General Buell said: 

"The system of paroles as practiced in this army has run into an 
intolerable abuse. Hereafter no officer or soldier belonging to the 
forces in this district will give his parole not to take up arms, for the 
purpose of leaving the enemy's lines, without the sanction of the general 

154 morgan's cavalry. 

commanding this army, except when by reason of wounds or disease, 
he could not be removed without endangering his life. Any parole 
given in violation of this order will not be recognized, and the person 
giving it will be required to perform military duty, and take the risks 
prescribed by the laws of war." 

This order was issued on the 8th of August before the 
surrender of Boone. While we were at Hartsville a case 
of types and printing press had been found in the deserted 
room once occupied as a printing office, and were imme- 
diately put to use. Poor Niles, who had once been an 
editor, went to work and organized a corps of assistants 
from among the practical printers, of whom there were 
several in the Second Kentucky, and issued a small sheet 
which he called the Vidette. It was conducted after his 
death by Captain Alston. It was printed on any sort of 
paper that could be procured, and consequently, although 
perfectly consistent in its politics, it appeared at different 
times in different colors. Sometimes it would be a drab, 
sometimes a pale rose color, and, my recollection is that 
Boone's surrender was recorded upon a page of delicate 
pea-green. Colonel Morgan finding the pleasure that it 
gave the men took great pains to promote the enterprise. 
The Vidette was expected with as much interest by the 
soldiers of the command and country people, as the 
Tribune by the reading public of New York. General or- 
ders were published in it, promotions announced, and 
complimentary notices made by Colonel Morgan of the 
deserving. Full accounts of all our operations were pub- 
lished, and the reports of the various scouting parties 
filled up the column devoted to "local news." The edi- 
tors indulged in the most profound and brilliant specula- 
tions on the political future, and got off the ablest 
critiques upon the conduct of the war. As every thing 
"good" was published, some tremendous and overwhelm- 
ingly decisive Confederate victories, of which the official 
records make no mention even by name, were described 
in the Vidette, and the horrors of Federal invasion were 
depicted in terms which made the citizen reader's blood 
freeze in his veins. 

morgan's cavalry. 155 

The enlistment of Kentuckians in the Confederate ser- 
vice, and especially in the cavalry arm, was greatly stimu- 
lated about this time by another call by the Federal Gov- 
ernment for additional troops. 

Adam R. Johnson and Woodward, who were at this 
time operating very successfully in Southwestern Ken- 
tucky, got a large number of recruits seeking to avoid 
the draft. A great many came to Morgan — enough to 
fill up Desha's company, and besides increasing all the 
old companies, to add another company to the regiment. 
This one was lettered M, and was commanded by Captain 
W H. Jones, who became a fine officer although he had 
then seen no service. To remedy all trouble from the 
inexperience of the captain, Colonel Morgan, in accord- 
ance with his usual policy, appointed as first and second 
lieutenants, Sergeants Thomas Quirk and Ben Drake of 
Company A. Both had previously distinguished them- 
selves and both made their mark as officers. Henry 
Hukill, another sergeant of Company A and an excellent 
soldier, was appointed first lieutenant of Company L. 
Gano, also, recruited another company for his squadron 
at this time. It was a large and fine one, and was com- 
manded by Captain Theophilus Steele, formerly surgeon 
of the Second Kentucky Infantry, but he was one of that 
kind of surgeons who in war prefer inflicting wounds to 
curing them. 

A short repose at Hartsville was interrupted by the 
most welcome and stirring summons we had ever re- 
ceived. This was an order from Generaly Kirby Smith 
to Colonel Morgan to meet him at Lexington, on the 
2nd of the coming month (September). 

It will be impossible for the men, whose history I am 
writing, to ever forget this period of their lives. The 
beautiful country in which it was passed, the blue-grass 
pastures and the noble trees, the encampments in the 
shady forests through which ran the clear cool Tennes- 
see waters, the lazy enjoyments of the green bivouacks 
changing abruptly to the excitement of the chase and the 


action, the midnight moonlit rides amidst the lovely 
scenery, cause the recollections which crowd our minds, 
when we think of Gallatin and Hartsville, to mingle 
almost inseparably with the descriptions of romance. In 
this country live a people worthy of it. In all the quali- 
ties which win respect and love, in generosity, honesty, 
devoted friendship, zealous adherence to what they deem 
the right, unflinching support of those who labor for it, 
in hospitality and kindliness, the Creator never made a 
people to excel them. May God bless and prosper them, 
and may they and their children only at the judgment day 
"arise from that corner of the earth to answer for the sins 
of the brave." 


Bragg's Invasion oe Kentucky — Morgan Joins Him — "Bushwhack 
ers"— Service in Front oe Covington and in the Mountains- 
Bloody Combat at Augusta — Command Greatly Increased 
Numerically — Retreat oe Confederate Army erom Kentucky. 

Bidding our friends at Hartsville farewell, we set out 
for the heart of Kentucky on the morning of the 29th. 
Never were men in higher and more exultant spirits, and 
cheer after cheer rang from the front to the rear of the 
column, and when these evidences of enthusiastic joy at 
length ceased the way was enlivened with laugh, jest, 
and song. Passing by the Red Sulphur Springs, we 
reached Scottsville, in Allen county, Kentucky, on that 
night and encamped at 12 o'clock a few miles beyond. 
Stokes' and Haggard's regiments of Federal cavalry 
were reported to be in that section of the country, and 
the necessity for somewhat careful scouting could not be 
ignored. We saw nothing of them, however, and resum- 
ing our march early the next morning reached Glasgow 
about 10 A. M. 

At Glasgow we found rumors prevailing, as yet unde- 
fined and crude, of Kirby Smith's advance through South- 
eastern Kentucky. Our friends in Glasgow welcomed us 
with their usual kindness and after enjoying their hospi- 
tality for some hours, we marched off on the Columbia 
road. Encamping that night at Green river, we reached 
Columbia, in Adair county, on the next day about 12 M., 
and remained there until the next morning. 

The reason for the slow marching of the last two days 
had been Colonel Morgan's anxiety to obtain some in- 
formation of the two howitzers which were being escorted 
from Knoxville under charge of his brother and aide- 
camp Captain C. H. Morgan with an escort of seventy- 
five men. This escort was composed of men who had 

158 morgan's cavalry. 

been granted furloughs, and of convalescent sick and 
wounded men returning to the command. These men 
were all well armed, and were under the immediate com- 
mand of Captain Allen, who was assisted by several ex- 
cellent officers. When this party reached Sparta it 
marched, in accordance with instructions sent there for its 
guidance, to Carthage, and thence to Red Sulphur 
Springs, following, then, directly in the track of the 
column. Stokes' cavalry heard of them and pursued. 
Once this regiment came very near falling foul of them. 
The party had encamped late at night, and as a measure 
of precaution the horses were taken back some distance 
into the woods and the men were made to lie down in line 
concealed by the brush ; the howitzers were planted to 
sweep the road. No fires were lighted. Shortly after- 
ward the regiment in pursuit of them passed by, moving 
not more than twenty yards from the line without discov- 
ering it ; whether a discovery would have benefited the 
said regiment, will never be known, although there are 
many private opinions about the matter. 

When the party reached Glasgow — it was in the middle 
of the night — Captain Morgan could get no information 
about the whereabouts of the command for some time. 
He was supposed to be a Federal officer. At last he was 
recognized and, at once, got the necessary information. 

Captain Morgan had dispatched a courier to his 
brother, informing him of his line of march, which courier 
reached Columbia soon after the command had gone into 
camp there. Gano's squadron was immediately sent 
back to reinforce the escort, and met it shortly after it 
had left Glasgow. The necessary delay for the arrival of 
the howitzers caused us to remain at Columbia for two days. 
Resuming the march on the day after they came, at an 
early hour the command moved in the direction of Lib- 
erty, in Casey county. In the vicinity of this place, we 
saw, in the brief time that we remained, more active and 
business-like bushwhacking than ever before in our en- 


tire service. The hills along the road seemed alive with 
these sharpshooters, and from behind every fourth or 
fifth tree apparently, they were blazing away at us. 
Every Southern reader will understand at once what 
sort of individual is meant by a "bushwhacker" — that he 
is a gentleman of leisure who lives in a wild and, gener- 
ally, a mountainous country, does not join the army, but 
shoots from the tops of hills, or from behind trees and 
rocks, at those who are so unfortunate as to differ with 
him in politics. It is his way of expressing his opinions. 
His style of fighting is very similar to that of the outlying 
scouts of partisan cavalry, except that he esteems it a 
weakness and an unnecessary inconvenience to take 
prisoners, and generally kills his captives. Sometimes, 
and especially toward the latter part of the war, these fel- 
lows would band together in considerable numbers, make 
certain portions of the country impassable except to 
strong detachments, and even undertake expeditions into 
neighboring sections. 

There were "Union bushwhackers" and "Southern 
bushwackers ;" in Kentucky, the former were more nu- 
merous. "It is a gratifying reflection," to use the language 
of one of Colonel Clarence Prentice's official reports, 
"that many of them will 'whack' no more." In the 
Northern mind bushwhackers and guerrillas are con- 
founded together, an egregious error in classification. 
It is probable that the bushwhacker of this country would 
answer exactly to the guerrilla of European warfare ; but 
the guerrilla of North America is, or rather was (for 
happily he is almost, if not quite extinct), an animal en- 
tirely distinct from either. Formerly the Northern press 
styled all the Southern cavalry guerrillas, because they 
traveled about the country freely and gave their enemies 
some trouble. When the hardy, dashing Federal regi- 
ments of the latter part of the war — after, indeed, the 
first eighteen months — began to do real service, the 
Northern writers found that they would be called on to 

160 morgan's cavalry. 

record as cavalry operations the very kind of affairs which 
they had been accustomed to chronicle as guerrilla irregu- 
larities. A guerrilla was, properly speaking, a man who 
had belonged to one or the other army and had deserted 
and gone to making war on his private account. He was 
necessarily a marauder, sometimes spared his former 
friend, and was much admired by weak young women 
who were afflicted with a tendency toward shoddy ro- 

On this march through Casey county the bushwhackers 
were unusually officious. The advance guard, which for 
some reason had gone on some distance in front, reached 
Liberty about two hours before the column and during 
that time were fairly besieged in the place. Colonel 
Morgan himself made a narrow escape. One fellow, 
more daring than the others, had come down from the 
hills and had approached within seventy yards of the road. 
He fired at Morgan, missing him, but wounded a little 
negro boy, his servant, who was riding by his side receiv- 
ing some order. The man who fired at once ran back to 
the hill, followed by one or two of our fellows from the 
head of the column. He was killed by private, afterward 
Captain Thomas Franks, who made an excellent shot, hit- 
ting the bushwhacker in the head while he was running at 
top speed and Franks himself was going at a rapid gallop. 

That night we reached Houstonville, about fourteen 
miles from Danville, and learned there of General Smith's 
complete victor)^ at Richmond, and of the probability that 
he was already at Lexington. This news excited the men 
very much and sleep was banished from the camp that 
night. Early on the next morning we started for a good 
day's march and reached Danville about 10 A. M., halted 
there some three hours, and, resuming the march, 
reached Nicholasville, twenty-three miles distant, and 
twelve from Lexington, at dusk. 

On the next day, the 4th of September, the command 
entered Lexington about 10 A. M., amid the most en- 
thusiastic shouts, plaudits, and congratulations. Colonel 

morgan's cavalry. 161 

Morgan (as has been said) and many of his officers- and 
men were formerly citizens of Lexington, and many 
others came from the vicinity of the place ; relations and 
friends, therefore, by the score, were in the crowd which 
thronged the streets of the town. 

The people of this particular section of Kentucky, 
known as the Blue Grass region, had always been strongly 
Southern in their views and sympathies, and this occasion, 
except that of General Smith's entrance a day or two be- 
fore, was the first chance they had ever had to manifest 
their political proclivities. Some of them shortly after- 
ward were very sorry, doubtless, that they had been so 
candid. The command, at this time, numbered about 
eleven hundred men. The Second Kentucky had been 
greatly increased, and, after deducting all losses, was 
nearly if not quite nine hundred strong. Gano's squad- 
ron numbered about two hundred effectives. The rapid- 
ity with which recruits came to Morgan was astonishing. 
Captain Breckinridge was immediately granted authority, 
by General Smith, to raise a battalion of four companies 
to serve in Morgan's brigade. He was permitted to take 
his own company (I) out of the Second Kentucky as a 
nucleus for his battalion organization, and in a very short 
time he had gotten three other large and fine companies, 
and he could (if he had been permitted) have recruited a 
regiment with as little trouble. 

Colonel Gano was granted authority to raise a regi- 
ment and rapidly recruited three companies. Active 
service, which necessitated rapid and continuous march- 
ing, interfered for a time with the organization of his 
regiment, but it was eventually completed. Second 
Lieutenant Alexander, of Company E, Second Kentucky, 
was given permission to raise a company in the vicinity 
of Harrodsburg, Mercer county, and in four or five days 
returned with one of over sixty men, which was admitted 
into the Second Kentucky and lettered H, a letter which had 
been in disuse in the regiment since the partition of the com- 
pany which bore Alston into a captaincy. Lieutenant S. D. 

1 62 morgan's cavalry. 

Morgan, of Company A, was also authorized to recruit a 
company and soon did so. It was admitted into the Second 
Kentucky as Company I, in place of Breckinridge's. The 
Second Kentucky now numbered twelve companies and 
nearly eleven hundred effective men. 

Almost immediately upon arriving at Lexington Cap- 
tain Desha resigned the captaincy of Company L. He 
was a very fine officer and we all regretted to part with 
him. He received authority to recruit a regiment of in- 
fantry, and had partially succeeded when the retreat from 
Kentucky commenced. He then entered Colonel 
Thomas Hunt's regiment, the Fifth Kentucky Infantry. 
In the last year of the war he was offered a brigadier's 
commission, but declined it upon the ground that ill- 
health would not permit him to exercise the duties re- 
quired of him in such a station. Private John Cooper, of 
Company A, was appointed captain in his stead — he had 
previously been selected as color-bearer of the regiment, 
when Colonel Morgan had directed the officers to choose 
the best man in the regiment to bear a flag presented to 
him by the ladies of the State. 

Every company of the Second Kentucky was increased 
by recruits during the first week after our arrival. Two 
gentlemen, Colonels Cluke and Chenault, were author- 
ized to recruit regiments for Morgan's brigade and im- 
mediately went to work to do so. 

As soon as the first greetings had been passed with our 
friends, every man was solicitous to learn the particulars 
of General Smith's march through Southeastern Ken- 
tucky and of the fight at Richmond. General Smith had 
collected at Knoxville and other points in East Tennes- 
see, some twenty thousand men, and leaving eight thou- 
sand, under General Stephenson, in front of Cumberland 
Gap, then occupied by the Federal general, G. W Mor- 
gan, with eight or nine thousand men, he, with twelve 
thousand men and thirty or forty pieces of artillery 
pressed through the Big creek and Rogers gaps (of the 
Cumberland mountains), and marched rapidly for the 

morgan's cavalry. 163 

Blue Grass country. Master of Lexington, he would 
have the terminus of the two railroads and, indeed, one- 
half of the State of Kentucky. A complete defeat of the 
forces then in that region would clear his path to Louis- 
ville in the one direction, and to Covington in the other. 
He would be in no danger, until forces were collected and 
organized in sufficient strength at Cincinnati to march 
against him. As for Buell's army, it was General Bragg's 
duty to take care of that. General Smith had with his 
army about one thousand cavalry. This force, under 
Colonel John Scott, advancing some distance in his front 
fell upon Metcalfe's regiment, eleven or twelve hundred 
strong, on the Bighill fifteen miles from Richmond, and 
thoroughly defeated and dispersed it. Even after this 
affair the Federal commander remained in ignorance of 
any force, besides the cavalry under Scott, having ap- 
proached in that direction, until General Smith, having 
pressed on with wonderful celerity and secrecy, had got- 
ten within a few miles of Richmond. 

Then every available man was concentrated at Rich- 
mond and pushed out to meet the invading column. 
The collision occurred on the 29th of August. General 
Smith had marched so rapidly, his men had fared so badly 
(having subsisted for ten days on green corn) and their 
badly shod feet were so cut by the rough, stony way, that 
his column was necessarily somewhat prolonged, 
although there was little of what might be called strag- 
gling. Consequently he could put into the fight only 
about six thousand men. General Heth was some dis- 
tance in the rear. He attacked as soon as he came upon 
the enemy, drove him, and although three several stands 
were made, his advance was never seriously checked. 
The last stand and hardest fight was made in the outskirts 
of the little town of Richmond itself, and when the 
enemy was driven from the town his rout was complete. 
The Federal commander, General Nelson, was wounded. 
The enemy's loss was over one thousand in killed and 
wounded, and six thousand prisoners were taken and 

164 morgan's cavalry. 

paroled. General Smith's loss was nine hundred in 
killed and wounded. 

Scott with the cavalry pressed the fugitives for many 
miles. The rout and disintegration of the Federal army 
was such that perhaps not a single command maintained 
its organization, and the stream of fugitives poured 
through Lexington all Saturday night and Sunday 
toward Louisville and Cincinnati. This decisive victory 
finished General Smith's part of the program, and closed 
his campaign, for the time, with the possession of all that 
part of Kentucky. On the 1st of September, General 
Smith took possession of Lexington, and on the 2d or 
3d he dispatched General Heth with five or six thousand 
men toward Covington. General Smith issued the 
strictest orders for the maintenance of order and disci- 
pline and the prevention of excesses or malconduct 
among his troops of any description. He also went ener- 
getically to work to encourage enlistments in his ranks, 
to organize every department necessary to the subsist- 
ence and equipment of his army, and to collect supplies. 

Notwithstanding the efforts that were made to induce 
the Kentuckians to enlist as infantry very few would do 
so, and those who did joined the regiments which came in 
with General Smith ; not a single infantry regiment was 
raised during the time that the Confederate army was in 
the State. All of the Kentuckians who joined at that 
time wanted to ride. As a people they are fond of horses, 
and if they went to war at all they thought it a too great 
tax upon them to make them walk. 

A brigadier's commission was given to Captain Abram 
Buford (formerly of the regular army), a man well known 
and very popular in this portion of Kentucky, and he was 
authorized to recruit a mixed brigade of infantry and cav- 
alry He got three fine regiments of cavalry, under Col- 
onels Butler, Smith and Grigsb)^, without any trouble 
but not an infantryman. The two latter of the above 
named regiments were subsequently assigned to Morgan. 
One reason why so many enlisted in cavalry (independ- 

morgan's cavalry. 165 

ently of the decided preference of the Kentuckians for 
that branch of the service), was the fact that companies 
and regiments had, in many instances, their men be- 
spoken and ready to enlist with them as soon as a favor- 
able opportunity should occur. Many (also), had made 
up their minds to join Morgan when he next came 
through the country. Men who expected to become 
soldiers (under such circumstances), would of course wish 
to join the cavalry and made all their preparations to en- 
list in that arm of the service. 

Two or three days after we reached Lexington four 
companies of the Second Kentucky were sent with the 
two howitzers to capture the stockade at the bridge over 
Salt river on the Louisville and Nashville Railroad, and 
burn the bridge. The expedition was under command 
of Captain Hutchinson. This officer had some days pre- 
viously been made, at my request, acting lieutenant-colo- 
nel of my regiment (the Second Kentucky), and he was 
always afterward , addressed by that title and was subse- 
quently given the position. Hutchinson was a singularly 
active and energetic officer, and possessed the shrewd- 
ness as well as daring which eminently qualified him for 
the command of detachments. He made a tremendous 
march, and arrived at his destination before any Federal 
force which could have intercepted him or have marched 
to prevent his purpose heard of his coming. He cap- 
tured the stockade and garrison, one hundred strong, and 
thoroughly destroyed the bridge, which was a very im- 
portant one. 

Almost immediately after Colonel Hutchinson re- 
turned to Lexington, he was sent with Companies B, C, 
D, E, L and M, to report to General Heth, who had ad- 
vanced to within five miles of Covington, and withdraw- 
ing needed cavalry. The utmost consternation prevailed 
in Cincinnati during the time that Heth was in the vicin- 
ity of Covington; the city was placed under martial law 
and every citizen was required to report for military duty. 
So persistent were the detectives in their search for trea- 

1 66 morgan's cavalry. 

son that all the business houses in the town had to be shut 
up, and it became so frequent a matter to construe 
thoughtless words into expressions of disloyal sentiment 
that it was unsafe to speak any other language than 
Dutch. Thousands of respectable citizens nightly left 
their comfortable homes, to cross the river and shiver and 
ache with apprehension and fatigue in the ditches around 
Covington. Many a tradesman torn from his shop got 
the manual mixed up with his accounts and lost the run 
of both; and as he sat in a rifle-pit, with only one pon- 
toon bridge (and that narrow) connecting him with Cin- 
cinnati, he had to console him the reflection that he was 
performing a patriotic duty and letting his business go to 
the devil. 

Before General Heth was ready to attack, however, he 
was ordered to withdraw. General Smith expected to be 
soon called to reinforce General Bragg, with his whole 
force to fight Buell's army before it reached Louisville; 
he therefore wished everything kept well in hand, and es- 
teemed the maintenance of the mobility of the troops un- 
der Heth as of more importance than the capture of Cin- 
cinnati. In the course of a few days troops began to ar- 
rive at Cincinnati, and they came in rapidly. When Heth 
fell back, there was a formidable force there of perhaps 
twelve or fifteen thousand men. Hutchinson reported to 
him at Walton, twenty-five miles from Covington, and 
was at once ordered to duty on the front. For some days 
he was very actively engaged immediately upon the 
ground which Heth had just left. He was engaged in 
scouting for some distance above and below Covington, 
to ascertain if there was any movement by the river, as 
well as having to carefully watch all roads leading out of 
the place. His various detachments had several skir- 
mishes, the most successful of which was made by a party 
under command of Lieutenant Allensworth, who routed 
a much larger body of the enemy and captured a number 
of prisoners. 

Just before General Heth came into that country, fif- 

morgan's cavalry. 167 

teen young men of Boone county who had long wished 
to join Morgan, hearing that Confederate troops might 
shortly be expected in their neighborhood, banded to- 
gether and attacked a train of twenty-seven wagons 
guarded by fifty-one Federal soldiers, dispersed the guard 
and burned the wagons. This party with some twenty- 
five of their friends then equipped themselves and set out 
to join us. 

They were placed in the new Company I. In the ser- 
vice done at this time, Hutchinson's loss was slight and 
he inflicted a good deal upon the enemy. He took a num- 
ber of prisoners. The railroad was destroyed — track torn 
up and bridges burned — for a good many miles. General 
Heth continued to fall back toward Georgetown. After 
Hutchinson had been in command upon the Covington 
front six or seven days, I sent him Company A and the 
next day followed myself with Company I. 

Colonel Morgan was ordered to go to Eastern Ken- 
tucky and . intercept the Federal General Geo. W Morgan 
on his march from Cumberland Gap to the Ohio river. 
Federal General Morgan had evacuated the gap and 
gained two days' march on the force watching it on 
the other side. It was General Smith's desire that Col- 
onel Morgan should blockade the roads in his front, and 
use every exertion to retard his progress. By uniting 
with General Marshall's forces, it was hoped that Colonel 
Morgan, in the rugged, almost impassable country 
through which the Federal column had to march, might 
stop it altogether, until another body of troops could be 
thrown upon its rear, and thus literally starve it into sur- 
render. As it was, Marshall remained inactive, and Mor- 
gan, after felling trees across the road, climbing up and 
down mountains and sticking close to the front of the col- 
umn for six days, was compelled to suffer the mortifica- 
tion of seeing it get away triumphantly. 

While Colonel Morgan was employed in the mountains, 
General Smith directed me to annoy the enemy as much 
as possible in the direction of Covington. On the even- 

1 68 morgan's cavalry. 

ing that I arrived at Walton, where Hutchinson had been 
encamped, I found him in retreat, pressed by a superior 
force of the enemy. We soon found that we could not 
efficiently check the enemy's advance, and accordingly fell 
back to Crittenden, a little place seven miles from Walton. 
The enemy encamped five miles from the place. On the 
next morning we were driven out of Crittenden and as 
the enemy continued to advance, I reported to General 
Heth that I believed it was an advance upon Lexington. 
The enemy's force consisted, as we afterward ascertained, 
of about seven thousand infantry, one thousand cavalry, 
or, perhaps a little more, and eight pieces of artillery. 
Skirmishers were thrown out, in strong lines, for a mile 
or more on each side of the road. The country was open 
and easily traversed by troops, enabling them to 
strengthen any part of the line that might need it. We 
could therefore hope to effect little, and after carefully 
reconnoitering, without finding a convenient opening, we 
retired slowly in their front, forcing them to keep up their 
troublesome precautions. 

About i or 2 P M., leaving scouts to observe them, I 
marched rapidly to Williamstown. This place is just upon 
the northern edge of the rugged Eagle hills. Thence I 
moved eastwardly to Falmouth, a small town on the Cen- 
tral Kentucky Railroad about forty miles from Covington 
and twenty miles from Williamstown — indeed, nearly 
equidistant from the Dry-ridge road, or Cincinnati and 
Lexington pike (upon which the enemy were moving), 
and the Maysville and Lexington pike, which also needed 
some watching. I was then in a position to observe every 
movement upon the entire front, and was, so to speak, 
in the center of the web commanding all the avenues 
which should be guarded. If the enemy continued upon 
the road upon which he was then advancing, he would 
have to force his way through General Heth's forces, ad- 
vantageously posted amid the hills of the Eagle creek. 
If he turned to the left to seek a road not so well defended, 
he would have to come by Falmouth. 

morgan's cavalry. 169 

On the road, however, and before I reached Falmouth 
scouts brought the information that the enemy had fallen 
back to Walton, and also informed me of what his strength 
apparently was. It was plain that no force of that size 
would attempt to march on Lexington. Shortly after- 
ward other scouts, which had been sent to watch the Ohio 
river, came from Warsaw, a little town on, its banks, and 
reported that a number of boats laden with troops had 
gone down the river toward Louisville. This information 
explained everything. Finding that Heth had withdrawn 
and Cincinnati was no longer threatened, this force which 
had driven us away from Walton had been sent to clear 
the country of troublesome detachments and also to at- 
tract attention in that direction, and conceal the concen- 
tration of troops at Louisville. Walton is twenty-five 
miles from Falmouth. On the day after reaching the lat- 
ter place I sent a flag of truce to Walton with dispatches, 
which General Smith had instructed me to forward to 
Cincinnati. The flag was borne by Captain S. D Mor- 
gan, who wagered with the aide of the commanding gen- 
eral that he (Morgan), would drive in his pickets within 
forty-eight hours. The entire strength of the six com- 
panies which Colonel Hutchinson had taken to this coun- 
try was not quite five hundred men — the two additional 
companies, A and I, did not swell the total effective to 
six hundred men. All of these were large ones but many 
men (from four or five of them) were on furlough. When 
the flag of truce returned, Captain Morgan gave me such 
an account of the enemy that a desire, previously con- 
ceived, to visit him was greatly increased. Morgan could, 
of course, see but little; he was, however, vigilant and 
shrewd and drew accurate inferences from what he saw. 
He was satisfied that while careful and systematic guard 
was kept, the troops were all green and could be easily 
surprised. He said that so far as he could learn there was 
no attempt made at scouting and that a total ignorance 
prevailed among them of what was going on a few hun- 
dred yards beyond the outposts. This latter information 

1 70 morgan's cavalry. 

was confirmed by the reports of all my scouts, and was in 
accordance with the habits of raw men and officers. He 
thought, moreover, from something he had heard, that 
the cavalry was encamped a mile or two from the infantry, 
and the country people, some of whom from that neigh- 
borhood visited us, stated that it was encamped a mile and 
a half from the main body and nearer Walton. We had 
tried in vain to get hold of the cavalry on the day we were 
driven from Walton ; it kept carefully behind the infantry. 

Moving from Falmouth late in the afternoon, with 
nearly the entire command, I marched until about 12 
o'clock at night, and halted at a point on the Independ- 
ence road, about ten miles from the enemy's encamp- 
ment. Scouts were immediately sent out to ascertain as 
nearly as possible the exact location of the pickets and 
the condition of everything about the encampments. 
They were instructed not to fire upon or in anywise alarm 
the pickets, or to do anything which might make them 
suspect our vicinity. 

The scouts observed their instructions closely and as- 
certained that no change had occurred in the last day or 
two, in any respect, in the posts on the different roads. 
After this information I was satisfied that I would be able 
to get upon the Georgetown and Covington pike, upon 
which the enemy was encamped, by a country road which 
runs into it from the Independence pike without alarming 
the main body. I could then move rapidly to the point 
where the cavalry was supposed to be encamped and defeat 
it before the infantry came to the rescue. The infantry en- 
campment was about two miles north of Walton, and this 
by-road comes into the pike about one thousand yards from 
the site of the encampment and between it and Walton. 

The column was accordingly put in motion again at 
daybreak and marched rapidly. Just at sunrise we 
reached the Georgetown and Covington pike and saw 
standing in sight of the point where we would enter, ten 
cavalry pickets. The column at once halted and arrange- 
ments made to capture them. They had not yet seen us. 

morgan's cavalry. 171 

A brief reconnoissance showed an infantry regiment on 
post, some three hundred yards farther down the road. 
There was now no hope of passing this point without dis- 
covery by the main body and it only remained to make 
the most out of the situation. 

Lieutenant Messick, of Company A, was sent with ten 
men to take in the cavalry videttes, and Lieutenant Rob- 
erts was ordered to engage the attention of the infantry 
with the advance guard. He went right into the midst 
of it. The column was moved forward at a gallop, as soon 
as the pickets were disturbed, and turned in the direction 
of Walton; the rear company, however, being carried at 
full speed to the assistance of Lieutenant Roberts. One 
of the howitzers which had been brought along was 
planted at the point where we entered the pike, to cover 
our retreat, if it were pressed. When I reached the little 
squad of Lieutenant Roberts with the company which I 
took to assist it, I found it, or rather a fragment of it, in 
a situation which perhaps was never paralleled during the 

Lieutenant Roberts was still farther down the road and 
toward the encampment, with a portion of the detach- 
ment, picking up stragglers. Sergeant Will Hays stood 
with six men in the midst of a company of sixty-nine Fed- 
eral infantry. The infantry seemed sullen and bewildered 
and stood with their rifles cocked and at a ready. Hays 
had his rifle at the head of the lieutenant commanding, 
demanding that he should order his men to surrender and 
threatening to blow his brains out if he encouraged them 
to resist. Hays' six men were grouped around him ready 
to shoot down any man who should raise a gun against 
him. I thought it the finest sight I had ever seen. Our 
arrival decided the Federals to surrender, and the caps 
and bayonets having been taken off of their guns, they 
were sent off guarded by the men which had been brought 
up to complete their capture. Lieutenant Roberts had 
gone, with his mere corporal's guard, into the infantry 


regiment, had captured one company and run the others 
back into camp. 

The men of this regiment were very raw and green. 
Hays had persuaded them for some time that he was an 
officer of their own cavalry, and it was only when he per- 
emptorily ordered them to follow him to Walton that they 
suspected him. After sending off the prisoners, four or 
five of us rode on down the road to join Lieutenant Rob- 
erts, and soon found him bringing back more prisoners. 
We were now farther in toward the encampment than 
the regiment on picket had stood, and had a fair view of 
it. We saw the whole force form and it was a very pretty 
sight. The regiments first formed on their respective 
camp grounds, and then took their positions, and behind 
everything, peeping over the shoulders of the infantry, 
were our friends the cavalry that we had taken so much 
pains to see. 

While we were looking on, a staff officer came gallop- 
ing toward us, evidently not knowing who we were and 
taking us for some of his pickets not yet driven in. He 
came right up to us ; thinking his capture certain, Cap- 
tain Morgan, who recognized him as the officer with 
whom he had made the bet two days previously, rode for- 
ward, saluted him and told him he was a prisoner. He, 
however, did not seem to be of that opinion, for he wheeled 
his horse, coming so close to us in doing so as to almost 
brush the foremost man, and dashed back at full speed. 

The skirmishers, who were not more than two hundred 
yards off, soon induced us to leave and we galloped after 
the column. Eighty or ninety prisoners were taken, and 
were sent on to Lexington as soon as we got back to Fal- 
mouth. The enemy did not know for some hours that we 
were gone, and indeed rather expected during that time to 
be attacked. I perhaps ought to have attacked, but the 
disparity of forces and the knowledge that the enemy could 
detect it as I advanced deterred me. 

On the next day I sent Captain Castleman with Company 
D to Foster's landing on the Ohio river. He fired upon a 


Government transport loaded with troops, but could not 
stop her with his rifles. He captured the regular packet, 
and was shelled by one of the river gunboats, suffering no 

At this period the Home Guard organizations were dis- 
banding, or being incorporated into the Federal army. At 
Augusta, in Bracken county, about twenty-five miles from 
Falmouth, and situated on the river forty odd miles above 
Cincinnati, there was a regiment being formed out of some 
Home Guard companies. This organization had already 
begun to give trouble, and one or two of its scouting parties 
had even ventured within a short distance of Falmouth. 
I was also informed that many Southern sympathizers had 
been forced into its ranks. I determined therefore to break 
it up before it became formidable. There was a ford, more- 
over, just below Augusta, by which the river could be 
crossed at that season without difficulty. I wished to take 
the town, if possible, with little loss — cross into Ohio, and 
marching toward Cincinnati so threaten the city that the 
troops at Walton would be hurried back to protect it. 

Leaving Falmouth in the morning of one day, I could (if 
allowed to cross the river without opposition) have been in 
the vicinity of Cincinnati at daylight of the next day. Two 
days, therefore, after the expedition to Walton, I started 
from Falmouth with about four hundred and fifty men — ■ 
leaving Company D and some details behind to observe the 
enemy at Walton and for other purposes. 

On the way to Augusta I came upon a large scouting 
party from that place but it dispersed before I could attack : 
it was cut off, however, from Augusta and prevented from 
taking part in the fight there. We marched through 
Brooksville and about 7 A. M. reached the high ground in 
the rear of Augusta and which perfectly commanded the 
town. Two small stern wheel boats lay at the wharf to 
assist in the defense of the place. A twelve-pounder was 
mounted on each of them ; their sides were protected by hay 
bales and they were manned by sharp-shooters in addition 
to the gunners. These boats commanded the turnpike which 


led into the town from Brooksville (by which road we were 
advancing) but about a mile from the town I turned the 
column from the road and approached the hill (upon which 
I took position) through the fields. The crest of this hill 
is perhaps two hundred feet above the level of the river (at 
low water) and about six hundred yards from its bank. 
The town runs back to the foot of the hill. From our 
position on the summit of this hill we could distinctly see 
the Home Guards going into the houses and preparing for 
fight, but a portion of them were already ensconced in the 
houses near the head of the street by which we entered the 
town a little while afterward. These latter kept themselves 
concealed while we remained on the hill and our ignorance 
of their location cost us dearly. Seeing that the boats com- 
manded the street by which I wished to enter the town, I 
determined to drive them away before moving the bulk of 
the command from the hill. 

Accordingly, having dismounted and formed Companies 
B, C, E, I and M and planted the howitzers on the highest 
point I could find, where they could probably throw every 
shell into the boats, I ordered Company A and the advance 
guard to cross the Germantown pike and take position near 
the bank of the river in the eastern end of the town. Here 
they would be enabled to annoy the troops on the boats 
very greatly with their rifles and would also be in position 
to assist in reducing the garrisoned houses when the fight in 
town commenced. In that part of the town there were no 
houses occupied by the enemy. Captain Cassell of Com- 
pany A was instructed to dispose his own company and 
the advance guard in accordance with these views and to 
take command of both. I especially charged him to let 
no mounted man approach that part of the town which I 
expected to enter, but to bring the men on foot when he 
heard firing. 

As soon as Cassell had gotten into position the howitzers 
were opened upon the boats. Several shells burst near them 
and one penetrated the hull of the "Flag Ship," as I suppose 
I may term the boat upon which the captain commanding 


both of them had his quarters. Cassell's riflemen were also 
active, and after firing only three shots the "fleet" withdrew. 
As long as the boats were in range the "Bull Pups" kept 
after them and they steamed up the river and out of sight. 
Having driven off these gunboats, upon which I knew the 
officer commanding in the town chiefly relied for the defense 
of the place, I believed that I would have no more trouble 
and that the garrison would surrender without more fight- 
ing. I immediately entered by the principal street with 
Companies B and C. After these two companies had gotten 
well into the town and in front of the houses into which the 
defenders of the place had gone unseen by us, a sharp fire 
was suddenly opened upon them, killing and wounding sev- 
eral. I at once ordered the men to gather on the right hand 
side of the street, although the fire came from both sides, 
and to take shelter as they best could. 

A fierce fight at once began. I sent for Companies E, I, 
and portions of L and M, leaving three sections of each to 
guard the road in our rear. I made the men force their 
way into the houses whence they were fired upon. Captain 
Cassell came to join me as soon as he heard the firing, but 
unfortunately Lieutenant Roberts forgot, in his ardor, the 
order that no men should enter the town mounted and he 
dashed up to the scene of the fight with his men on horse- 
back, greatly increasing the confusion. Lieutenant Roberts 
was killed almost instantly, two or three men and several 
horses of his guard were also shot, and the crowding of 
horses into the street added to the disorder. In a few 
minutes, however, some method was restored. Details of 
men were posted in the middle of the street in front of every 
house, to fire at the inmates when they showed themselves 
and prevent them from maintaining an accurate and effective 
fire. Other details were made to break in the doors of the 
houses and enter them. The artillery was brought into the 
town and turned upon the houses in which the most stubborn 
resistance was kept up. Planted about ten paces from a 
house, aimed to strike about a yard below the sills of the 
windows, beneath which the defenders were crouched (ex- 


cept when taking aim), and double-shotted with grape and 
canister, the howitzers tore great gaps in the walls. Two or 
three houses from which sharp volleys were kept up were set 
on fire. Flags of truce, about this time, were hung out 
from several windows, and believing that a general sur- 
render was meant I ordered the fires to be extinguished. 
But only those who shook the white flags meant to give up 
and the others continued to fight. One or two men putting 
out the fires were shot. I immediately ordered that every 
house from which shots came should be burned. A good 
many were soon in flames and even then the fighting con- 
tinued in some of them. My men were infuriated by what 
they esteemed bad faith in a continuance of the fight after 
the flags of truce were displayed, and by the loss of their 
comrades and of some favorite officers. I never saw them 
fight with such ferocity. Few lives were spared in the 
houses into which they forced their way. In some houses 
dead men were piled on the floors and blood was dripping 
down the stairways. 

Several savage hand-to-hand fights occurred. As private 
James March of Company A was about to enter a house, 
after battering down the door with the butt of his rifle, a 
Home Guard, armed with musket and bayonet, sprang out 
and lunged at him. March avoided his thrust, knocked him 
down with his clubbed gun, and then seizing the other's 
musket pinned him to the ground with the bayonet. A 
somewhat similar affair happened to a private of Company 
B whose name I have forgotten. As he, also, was forcing 
his way into a house, a strong, active fellow bounded out 
and cut at him with a large heavy knife made from a black- 
smith's file, such as were formerly often seen in Kentucky. 
He closed quickly with his assailant, whose blow conse- 
quently missed him, and in a moment they were locked in 
each other's arms. The Home Guard could not use his 
knife, for his right arm was stretched over the other's 
shoulder in the position in which it had fallen with the blow. 
The other wore one of the largest sized, heaviest army 
pistols. He had dropped his gun, and as he drew his pistol 

morgan's cavalry. 177 

his enemy clasped the lock with his left hand and he could 
not cock it. Both were powerful men and fighting for life, 
because quarter was not thought of by either. At length 
the Confederate raised the pistol to a level with the other's 
head, and although he could strike only by the inflection 
of the wrist, inflicted blows with the heavy barrel upon his 
enemy's temple which stunned him. Then dashing him to 
the ground, the Confederate beat in his skull with the butt 
of his pistol. The fighting lasted about fifteen or twenty 
minutes, when Colonel Bradford, the commander of the or- 
ganization, surrendered. It was with great difficulty that 
his life or the lives of his men could be saved. Fighting in 
narrow streets, close to their opponents, the loss in my com- 
mand was, of course, severe, and a great many wounds 
proved mortal on account of the balls coming from above 
ranging downward. 

My loss was twenty-one killed and eighteen wounded. I 
had about three hundred men engaged. Among the killed 
were some matchless officers. Captain Samuel D. Morgan 
(a cousin of Colonel Morgan) killed several men with his 
own hand before he fell. He had been a good soldier, and 
gave promise of unusual merit as an officer. His gallantry 
and devotion were superb, and he was always urgent to be 
placed on perilous service. He was a mere boy. Lieu- 
tenant Greenberry Roberts had been made first lieutenant of 
Company A after Lieutenant Smith's death. He much re- 
sembled his predecessor. He had been placed in command 
of the advance guard when Lieutenant Rogers was com- 
pelled to return to his company (E) upon the promotion of 
Captain Hutchinson. He was nineteen years old when 
killed ; gay, handsome, and a universal favorite. His cour- 
age was untempered by any discretion or calculation, and 
unless bound by positive instructions he would go at any 
thing. Lieutenant Rogers was a model officer and gentle- 
man. He was killed while exerting himself to save the in- 
mates of a house from which the shot which killed him came. 

Lieutenant King, a gallant boy, brevet second lieutenant 
of Company E, fell dead the moment afterward across 

178 morgan's cavalry. 

Rogers' body, and an old man of that company, devotedly 
attached to both these officers, private Puckett (one of the 
few old men in the regiment ) rushed to raise them and was 
instantaneously killed, falling upon them. Captain Kennett, 
of Company B, just made captain in the place of Captain 
Allen, who was elected lieutenant-colonel of Butler's regi- 
ment, and Lieutenant George White, of the same company, 
were mortally wounded and died very soon. Both were 
veterans of the old Squadron and very brave men. 

Most of the casualties occurred in the first few minutes of 
the street fight, before proper dispositions were made to re- 
duce the garrisons of the houses, and while the latter were 
taking deadly aim. 

Captain Cassell's bold attack on the gunboats saved us 
much greater loss. Some of the women came (while the 
fight was raging) from the part of the town where they 
had retired for safety to the most dangerous positions, and 
waited upon the wounded while the balls were striking 
around them. The majority of the people of this town, or 
a large proportion at least, were Southern sympathizers. 
The regular members of the Home Guard regiment were 
collected from the country for miles around. A number of 
the Southern men were also pressed into the service. 

The last house set on fire was that of James Armstrong. 
After the garrison in it were disposed of efforts were made 
to save it. The owner bade me "let it burn," but urged me 
to collect and destroy all the arms of the Home Guards, that 
they might not give trouble again. 

This fight prevented the incursion into Ohio. All of the 
ammunition for the howitzers was expended. I was anxious 
to remove my wounded and dead, and had two hundred 
prisoners whom I wanted to carry off. About 4 P M.., 
employing all the carriages and light wagons that I could 
find about the town and neighborhood to carry the wounded 
who could be removed, and the dead bodies, which were not 
too much mutilated, I went back toward Falmouth. That 
evening we reached Brooksville after dark, and passed the 
night there, the gloomiest and saddest that any man among 
us had ever known. 


Brooksville is a little hamlet, nine miles from Augusta and 
eighteen from M'aysville. This latter place had been taken 
by Gano, a week or two before, without a shot. News 
reached Maysville of the fight at Augusta on the same even- 
ing that it occurred, and about 4 o'clock next morning troops 
left there to march to the relief of Augusta. At 7 A. M. 
of that morning, I sent off the train of dead and wounded 
and all of the prisoners, except about eighty, whom I in- 
tended to parole. As soon as they were fairly started, I 
ordered Colonel Hutchinson to follow with the command. 
I retained Sergeant Hays and ten men of the advance guard 
with me. Most of the prisoners left were Southern men, 
who had been forced to fight, and a few others were men 
paroled at Armstrong's request. 

About 9 or 10 A. M., while engaged in writing out pa- 
roles, I was informed by my orderly that a force of Federals 
was coming into town on the Maysville pike. I had placed 
no pickets after the regular detail had been withdrawn upon 
the march of the column, and nearly all of the ten men left 
with me were in the court-house at the time by my side. We 
immediately passed out and mounted our horses. Sergeant 
Hays formed seven men and we dashed through the enemy. 
There were perhaps fifty or sixty cavalry in the town. 
Several shots were fired upon both sides. None of my party 
were hurt. One of the enemy was killed and three seized by 
the bridle reins, as we went through them, and carried off 
prisoners. A few men were still unparoled when the alarm 
was given. Private Houston Conrade remained and paroled 
them all ; then followed us through the enemy. He was sub- 
sequently promoted for other instances of the coolest daring. 
A recruiting officer had been captured that morning and 
placed in charge of Privates Franks and McVae. They were 
eating breakfast when the enemy entered the town and were 
nearly captured. They placed their prisoner on a barebacked 
horse and carried him off across the country, taking fences 
and every thing else at a gallop. 

We lost one man taken prisoner; he could not get to his 
horse. The enemy's force was composed of the cavalry 

i8o morgan's cavalry. 

which first entered and about four hundred infantry, with 
two pieces of artillery. After we had gotten out of the town, 
we turned and galloped back again, to create, if possible, a 
diversion in favor of the three men I supposed to be still 
there. The infantry, however, immediately drove us off. 
As we then moved rapidly after the command, we met the 
rear guard, which always marched a good distance in the 
rear of the column, coming back at a gallop to reinforce us. 
The officer in charge of it, one of the very best in the regi- 
ment, Lieutenant Ash Welsh, had returned as soon as he 
heard the firing. His men and himself were dressed in dark 
clothing, and I thought when they first came in sight that 
they were a part of the enemy which had cut us off. They 
also mistook us for the enemy, and we charged each other 
at full speed. When within about fifty yards and just about 
to fire, a mutual recognition fortunately prevented it. 

I placed the command in camp at Cynthiana, and sent the 
prisoners and all the wounded who were not too much ex- 
hausted to travel to Lexington. 

On the next day the funeral of Lieutenant Rogers was 
celebrated. He was a native of Cynthiana, and the citizens 
of that place had loved him and were proud of his record. 
They came, the true, warm-hearted yeomanry, to witness 
his soldier-burial and sympathize in the sorrow of his aged 
and heart-broken father. The men remained in camp at 
Cynthiana from the 30th of September until the night of the 
4th of October. During that time I made several promotions 
which were confirmed by an exercise of General Morgan's 
appointing power 

Thomas Franks, private in the Mississippi company and 
"member in high standing" of the advance guard, was made 
captain of Company I. He was a worthy successor of Cap- 
tain Morgan. By a series of gallant acts and uniform good 
conduct and assiduous and thorough discharge of his duty, 
he had well won his preferment. Brevet Second Lieutenant 
William Messick (of whom a great deal remains to be said) 
was made first lieutenant of Company A. Privates Parks 
and Ashbrook were made respectively first and second 

morgan's cavalry. 181 

lieutenants of Company E. They were gallant and had 
fought in the front of every fight since the organization of 
the regiment. Sergeant William Hays was offered his choice 
of captaincy of Company B, or the first lieutenancy of the 
same company with the privilege of commanding the ad- 
vance guard. He chose the latter, like the gallant man that 
he was, loving danger honestly encountered and honor fairly 

General Morgan unhesitatingly approved all of these ap- 
pointments, complimenting the appointees, and declared that 
he had contemplated their promotion earlier. In pure, un- 
flinching courage, soldierly desire for personal distinction, 
devotion to the interests of the service, pride in the reputa- 
tion of their own corps, respect for and zealous obedience to 
their own commanders, energy and intelligence, these officers 
had no superiors. 

I have already said that Colonel Morgan had been sent to 
Eastern Kentucky, to intercept the Federal General Morgan 
on his march to the Ohio river. 

Upon reaching Richmond on the morning of the 20th of 
September he learned that the Federals were moving from 
Manchester, via Booneville, to Mount Sterling, presumably 
to reach the Ohio river at Maysville. In order to place him- 
self in their front he marched rapidly to Hazel Green. It 
was understood that General Stephenson would press them 
hard in the rear, and that General Humphrey Marshall 
would move from the east toward Mount Sterling and strike 
them in the flank. The enemy, however, reached Hazel 
Green before Morgan got there, and he was forced to make 
a detour and night march by which he succeeded in heading 
him at West Liberty- From that date until the ist of Octo- 
ber he was constantly in contact with the Federal column 
and fighting with it day and night. For some reason 
neither Stephenson or Marshall put in an appearance, yet 
Colonel Morgan so retarded the enemy that in six days he 
marched only thirty miles. At noon of October ist he re- 
ceived a despatch from General Smith directing him to make 
no further effort to impede the progress of the enemy but 
to "rejoin the army at Lexington or wherever it might be." 

1 82 morgan's cavalry. 

On the afternoon of the 4th, Colonel Morgan reached 
Lexington. Before he got in he became satisfied that an 
immediate evacuation was imminent, and he was induced 
to believe that the enemy were nearer than was actually the 
case. Anxious to get his command together again and 
learning where I was, he, with characteristic promptitude, 
dispatched me a courier, bidding me keep a careful lookout, 
and if "cut off come by way of Richmond and Lancaster." 
When I reached Lexington, I found that preparations were 
being made for its evacuation. I hoped, as did thousands 
of others, that it would be only a temporary one, and that 
we could return after a decisive victory which should give us 
permanent possession of Kentucky. I mentioned this hope 
to Colonel Morgan, and I shall never forget his laugh and 
the bitter sarcasm with which he spoke of the retreat, which 
he seemed to certainly expect. As he rapidly mentioned the 
indications which convinced him that we were going to 
give up the stakes without an effort to win them, my faith, 
too, gave way and my heart sank. 

On the 6th of October, Colonel Morgan left Lexington 
on the track of General Smith's infantry forces, with 
Cluke, Gano and the Second Kentucky. It was thought 
probable that the enemy would advance from the direc- 
tion of Frankfort, and an engagement in the vicinity of 
Versailles, where a portion of General Smith's infantry 
were stationed, was anticipated. Morgan, whose entire 
force amounted to some fifteen hundred effective men, 
was ordered to take position between Versailles and 
Frankfort, and attack the enemy if he made his appear- 
ance. The bulk of General Smith's command was eight 
or ten miles farther to the southwest, in the vicinity of 

Breckinridge's battalion had been detached on the 4th, 
and was ordered to report first to Buford, then to Whar- 
ton, and finally to Ashby. It was engaged in the skirmish- 
ing which the two latter officers successfully conducted 
with the enemy on the road between Lawrenceburg and 
Harrodsburg, and Harrodsburg and Perryville. 

morgan's cavaIvRy. 183 

The movements of Buell had completely mystified Gen- 
eral Bragg and the latter was not only reduced to the de- 
fensive, but to a state of mind pitiable in the extreme. 

General Bragg came to the Western army with a most 
enviable reputation. He had already displayed those 
qualities as an organizer, a disciplinarian, and a military 
administrator in which he had few equals. His dashing 
conduct at Shiloh and the courage and ability in which 
(as a corps commander), no man excelled him, had made 
him a great and universal favorite. The admirable method 
which (when second in command at Corinth and really at 
the head of affairs) he introduced into all departments; 
the marvelous skill in discipline with which he made of 
the "mob" at Corinth a splendidly ordered, formidable 
army, and his masterly evacuation of that place (totally 
deceiving Halleck in doing so), caused him to be regarded, 
almost universally, as the fit successor of Albert Sydney 
Johnston and the coming man of the West. 

The plan of retiring altogether from Mississippi and of 
suddenly moving the army, by the Southern railroads 
around into Tennessee again — losing the slow, dull- 
scented Halleck — if conceived by a subordinate was, at 
least, attributed to him. It was brilliant in itself, and was 
successfully executed. When he reached Chattanooga, 
he showed for the first time vacillation and a disposition 
to delay. He crossed the river on the 28th of August 
with twenty-five thousand infantry, beside artillery and 
cavalry. He moved over Waldron's ridge, up the Se- 
quatchy valley, through Sparta, and seeking to beat 
Buell to Munfordsville. The disposition of Buell's forces 
has already been given in a former chapter. His 
army, about forty or forty-five thousand strong, was scat- 
tered over a wide extent of territory, in small detach- 
ments (with the exception of the forces at Battle creek 
and at McMinnville) each about twelve or fourteen thou- 
sand strong. 

This disposition was rendered necessary by the diffi- 
culty of obtaining supplies ; it was also requisite to a thor- 

184 morgan's cavalry. 

ough garrisoning of the country. Had General Bragg, 
as soon as he crossed the river, marched straight on Nash- 
ville, General Buell could not possibly have met him with 
more than twenty-five thousand men. General Buell did 
not issue orders for the concentration of his troops until 
the 30th of August, although preparations had been made 
for it before. This concentration was effected at Mur- 
freesboro. It then became apparent to him that General 
Bragg was pushing for central Kentucky, and it became 
necessary that Buell, to save his communication, should 
march into Kentucky also. General Bragg had the start 
and the short route, and reached Glasgow on the 13th of 
September; then taking position on the main roads at 
Cave City, while Buell, with all the expedition he could 
use, had gotten only as far as Bowling Green, he cut the 
latter off from Louisville and the reinforcements awaiting 
him there. 

General Buell's army had been decreased by the detach- 
ment of a garrison for Nashville.* After an unsuccessful 
attack (with the loss of two or three hundred men) by a 
small Confederate force upon Munfordsville — the garri- 
son of that place, over four thousand strong, subsequently 
surrendered on the 17th. What now was to hinder Gen- 
eral Bragg, holding the strong position of Munfordsville, 
from stopping Buell, calling Kirby Smith with his whole 
force, to his assistance, and, outnumbering, crush his ad- 
versary? How long would the raw troops at Louisville 
have withstood the attack of Bragg's veterans when 
their turn came? General Bragg discovered that the 
country was barren of supplies ; that one of the richest, 
most fertile regions of Kentucky could not support his 
army for a week, and he withdrew to Bardstown. Buell 
finding the road clear, marched on to Louisville. His im- 
mense wagon train, more than twenty miles long and the 
flank of his army were exposed by this movement. 

It was certainly not expecting too much of General 

* About 8,000 strong. 

morgan's cavalry. 185 

Bragg, as commander-in-chief of the Confederate forces 
in Kentucky, that he would (after this was done) make up 
his mind whether he was going to fight or not, without 
further delay. If he did not intend to fight, would it not 
have been wiser to march on Nashville, while Buell was 
marching on Louisville, capture that place and establish 
himself on the banks of the Cumberland with less of loss, 
fatigue, and discontent among his troops, than existed when 
after his long harassing, weary marches through the moun- 
tains, he halted at Murfreesboro much later? Kirby Smith 
could have remained in Kentucky long enough to collect 
and secure all the supplies and if he had been hard-pressed 
could have retreated more rapidly than any pursuer could 
follow- If General Bragg did intend to fight, why did he 
not concentrate his army and fight hard? 

After Buell marched to Louisville (which he reached on 
the 29th of September) Bragg took position at and about 
Bardstown. Our line, including General Smith's forces, 
may be described as running from Bardstown, on the ex- 
treme left, through Frankfort and Lexington, to Mount 
Sterling on the right flank. It was an admirable one. 
However threatened on front or flanks, the troops could 
be marched to the threatened points, by excellent interior 
roads. The base at Bryantsville was perfectly secure — • 
roads ran from it in every direction — and it was a place 
of immense natural strength. The force available, for the 
defense of this line, was quite forty-nine thousand infan- 
try. General Bragg' s staff officers represent the force of 
infantry (which entered the State with General Bragg) to 
have been twenty-five thousand. General Smith's infantry 
forces (including Marshall and Stevenson) numbered 
twenty-four thousand. There were perhaps one hundred 
and thirty pieces of artillery in all. The cavalry, all told, 
was about six thousand strong (including Morgan and 
Buford), making a grand total of about fifty-six thousand 

Buell moved out from Louisville on the 1st of October. 
His advance was made just as might have been antici- 

1 86 morgan's cavalry. 

pated, and as many had predicted. Not caring to involve 
his whole army in the rough Chaplin and Benson hills, he 
sent detachments toward Frankfort and Lawrenceburg 
to guard against any movement on Louisville, and to dis- 
tract Bragg's attention from his (Buell's) main design 
and make him divide his army. In this latter intention he 
perfectly succeeded. The bulk of his army marched 
through Bardstown and Springfield to Perryville to get 
in Bragg's rear and upon his line of retreat. The force 
sent to Frankfort, five or six thousand strong, under Du- 
mont, broke up the inaugural ceremonies of the Provi- 
sional Government, which General Bragg, as if in mock- 
ery of the promises he had so lavishly and so confidently 
made to his own Government and to the people of Ken- 
tucky, and of the hopes he had excited, had instituted. 

This force which came to> Frankfort was the same which 
General Smith was prepared to fight at Versailles, its real 
strength not being at first known. A day or two afterward 
it came out upon the Versailles road, and was ambushed by 
Colonel John Scott and driven back with smart loss. Gen- 
eral Smith, hearing that the enemy was advancing in force 
to Lawrenceburg, and that he had occupied that place with 
an advance guard, ordered Buford to drive him out with 
his cavalry and followed with his whole force. The estab- 
lishment of the enemy at Lawrenceburg and upon the road 
thence to Harrodsburg would have completely cut off Gen- 
eral Smith from General Bragg. The force advancing to- 
ward Lawrenceburg was Sill's division, perhaps six or seven 
thousand strong in effectives. This division had diverged 
from the main army at the same time with Dumont's. 

General Smith's forces were arranged at Lawrenceburg 
(which was not occupied by the enemy) and on the road 
thence to Harrodsburg on the 6th. Sill's division fell back 
across Salt river and into the rugged Chaplin hills, pressed 
by a portion of General Smith's infantry (Colonel Thomas 
Taylor's brigade) in advance. Several hundred prisoners 
were taken. The position of General Smith's forces was 
not materially changed during that day and the next, al- 

morgan's cavalry. 187 

though they continued to draw nearer to Harrodsburg. The 
main body of the enemy had in the meantime concentrated 
its marching columns and moved to the vicinity of Perry- 
ville, fifty-eight thousand strong, on the evening of the 7th, 
The detachments which advanced to Frankfort and toward 
Lawrenceburg were not more than twelve thousand strong 
in all. So rugged and difficult of passage is the country 
through which these detachments had to pass, that a com- 
paratively small force could have prevented their junction 
at Lawrenceburg and held both at bay, leaving the bulk of 
the Confederate army free to concentrate at Perryville. 
Even had their junction been permitted, three thousand such 
cavalry as Bragg had at his disposal could have retarded 
their march to Harrodsburg for several days. They could 
not have forced their way along the road in less than two 
or three days, and as many would have been required to 
make a detour and join Buell. In that time the battle of 
Perryville could have been decided. But so completely was 
General Bragg in the dark about Buell's movements that, 
when he first heard of the advance from Louisville, he sup- 
posed it was a movement of the whole Federal army upon 
Frankfort, and he ordered General Polk "to move from 
Bardstown, by way of Bloomfield, toward Frankfort to 
strike the enemy in flank and rear," while General Smith 
should take him in front. This order was evidently issued 
under an unaccountable and entire misapprehension of the 
true state of affairs, but showed a nerve and purpose which 
promised well. General Bragg must certainly, when he is- 
sued it, have supposed that General Buell's whole army was 
coming from that direction. How strange is it that a com- 
mander who could thus resolve to fight his foes when he 
believed them to be united should fear to encounter them 

After General Polk moved to Perryville, General Bragg, 
of course, learned of the advance of the enemy in that di- 
rection, and must have known that it was in strong column 
or he would not have permitted sixteen thousand troops to 
collect there to oppose it. He was still in error regarding 

1 88 morgan's cavalry. 

the other movements, and left the larger part of his army 
to confront the forces maneuvering about Lawrenceburg and 
Frankfort. One glance at a map will show the reader that, 
if the enemy was really advancing in heavy columns by these 
different routes, it was clearly General Bragg's best policy to 
have struck and crushed (if he could) that body threatening 
him from the south. If he crushed that his line of retreat 
would be safe, and he could have fought the other at his 
leisure, or not at all, as he chose. He could have fought (if 
it had continued to advance) at Bryantsville, or gone after 
and attacked it. If, on the contrary, he had concentrated 
to fight at Frankfort or Lawrenceburg, defeat, with this 
other force on his line of retreat, would have been ruinous. 
Even complete and decisive victory would have left him still 
in danger, having still another army to defeat or drive away. 
He would have been, in either case, between his foes prevent- 
ing their junction and in a situation to strike them in suc- 
cession ; but in the one case his rear was safe, and in the 
other it was threatened. 

After the battle of Perryville — -where he certainly got the 
better of the forces opposed to him (an earnest of what 
might have been done if the whole army had been concen- 
trated) and after an accurate knowledge had been ob- 
tained of how Sill's and Dumont's detachments had deceived 
him into the belief that they were the whole Federal army — 
General Bragg had his entire army concentrated at Har- 
rodsburg. The two armies then fairly confronted each other ; 
neither had any strategic experiments to fear on flank or 
rear, for Sill's division was making a wide and prudent cir- 
cuit to get to Buell, and Dumont was stationary at Frank- 
fort. It would have been a fair, square, stand-up fight. 
It is now well known that there was not the disparity in 
numbers which General Bragg and his friends claimed to 
have existed. There was less numerical inequality between 
the armies than there has been on many battlefields where the 
Confederate arms have been indisputably victorious. Buell's 
strength was less than that at any other period of the eight 
or ten days that a battle was imminent. Sill had not got- 

morgan's cavalry. 189 

ten up; the Federal army was fifty-eight thousand strong, 
minus the four thousand killed and wounded at Perryville 
and the stragglers. Buell had in his army regiments and 
brigades of raw troops, thirty-three thousand in all. Bragg 
had not more than five thousand , most of them distributed 
among veteran regiments. There were no full regiments, 
nor even full companies of recruits in Bragg's army, ex- 
cept in the Kentucky cavalry commands. The two armies 
faced each other, not more than three miles apart. The 
belief was almost universal, in each army, that next morn- 
ing we would fight. The troops thought so, and, despite 
the pouring rain and their uncomfortable bivouacs, were 
in high exultant spirit. 

General Bragg, however, declined battle and fell back the 
next morning to Bryantsville, and, remaining there during 
the 1 2th, marched that night to Lancaster. The army 
reached Lancaster on the morning of the 13th, and di- 
vided, General Smith going to Richmond and over the Big 
hill, to Cumberland Gap, General Bragg with the troops 
which had come into Kentucky, under his immediate com- 
mand, passing through Crab Orchard. 

It was hoped and thought probable, that Buell would over- 
take and force Bragg to fight at Crab Orchard. He did, 
indeed, come very near doing so. Sending one division to 
Lancaster, he moved with the bulk of his army toward 
Crab Orchard. He failed, however, to intercept Bragg, 
and the latter moved on out of Kentucky. 

Thus ended a campaign from which so much was ex- 
pected, and which, had it been successful, would have in- 
calculably benefited the Confederate cause. Able writers 
have exerted all their skill in apologies for this campaign, 
but time has developed into a certainty that opinion, then 
instinctively held by so many, that with this failure to hold 
Kentucky, our best and last chance to win the war was 
thrown away. 

At that period the veteran Federal army of the West 
was numerically much inferior to what it ever was again; 
and even after the accession of the recruits hastily collected 

190 morgan's cavalry. 

at Louisville, it was much less formidable than it subse- 
quently became. 

The Confederate army was composed of the veterans of 
Shiloh and the soldiers formed in the ordeal of Corinth. 
It was as nearly equal to the Federal army in numerical 
strength as there was any chance of it ever being, and the 
character of its material more than made up for any inequal- 
ity in this respect. No man who saw it in Kentucky will 
doubt that it would have fought up to its full capacity. 
Never was there a more fiery ardor, a more intense resolu- 
tion, pervading an army than that one felt when expecting 
a battle which should decide whether they were to hold Ken- 
tucky or march back again, carrying the war once more 
with them to their homes and firesides. Not even on the 
first day of Shiloh, when it seemed that they could have 
charged the rooted hills from their bases, were those troops 
in a temper to make so desperate a fight. It will be difficult 
for any one who will carefully study the history of this 
period to avoid the conclusion that it was the crisis of the 

First let the military situation be considered. While at 
almost every point of subordinate importance the Con- 
federates were holding their own, they were at those points, 
where the war assumed its grand proportions and the issues 
were vital, carrying everything before them. The Confed- 
erate Government had at length adopted the policy of mass- 
ing its troops, and the effect was instantly seen. In Vir- 
ginia General Lee's onset was irresistible. Forcing the im- 
mense Federal masses disintegrated and demoralized back 
to Washington, General Lee crossed the Potomac and 
pushed into Maryland. Jackson took Harper's Ferry, 
while General Lee fought the battle of Antietam with forty 
thousand men and again crippled McClellan. 

Although the Confederate army recrossed the Potomac 
on the 1 8th of September, McClellan did not follow, but re- 
mained inactive and by no means certain (as his dispatches 
show) that his great adversary would not return to attack 
him. It was not until late in October that the Federal 

morgan's cavalry. 191 

army again advanced, and its march was then slow and 
irresolute. It will be seen then that on the 17th of Sep- 
tember, the day on which Bragg took Munfordsville, Gen- 
eral Lee was fighting in Maryland. Ought not General 
Bragg to have risked a battle (with his superior force) in 
Kentucky, which (if successful) would have ruined the 
army opposed to him and have laid the whole Northwest 
open to him, unless McClellan had furnished the troops to 
oppose him and have placed himself at the mercy of Lee? 

General Bragg did not (of course) know, on the 17th of 
September, 1862, that the battle of Antietam was being 
fought, but he knew that General Lee had achieved great 
successes and that he was marching into Maryland. Again, 
what effect are we at liberty to suppose that a decisive 
victory won by General Bragg, at Perryville on the 6th of 
October, would have had upon the general result ? General 
Buell, pressed by Bragg's entire army, would have had some 
trouble to cross the Ohio river and the defense of the West- 
ern States would have been then intrusted with many mis- 
givings to his shattered army. And yet the West would 
have been left with no other defense, unless the army of the 
Potomac had (in the event of such a necessity) been weak- 
ened and endangered that reinforcements might go to Buell. 

But if there were strong military reasons why an effort 
should have been made to accomplish decisive results in this 
campaign, there were other and even stronger reasons for 
it to be found in the political condition, North and South. 
The Confederacy, alarmed by the reverses of the winter 
and spring, had just put forth tremendous and almost in- 
credible efforts. The South had done all that she could be 
made to do by the stimulus of fear. Increased, even sus- 
tained, exertion could have been elicited from her people 
only by the intoxication of unwonted and dazzling success. 
No additional inducement could have been offered to the 
soldiers whom pride and patriotism had sent into the field to 
remain with their colors but the attraction of brilliant vic- 
tories and popular campaigns. No incentive could have 
lured into the ranks the young men who had evaded the 


conscription and held out against the sentiment of their peo- 
ple but the prospect of a speedy and successful termination 
of the war. But there are few among those who were ac- 
quainted with the people of Tennessee, Alabama and Mis- 
sissippi, and their temper at that time, who will not agree 
with me, that a great victory in Kentucky, and the prospect 
of holding the State, perhaps of crossing the Ohio, would 
have brought to Bragg's army more Tennesseeans, Alaba- 
mians and Mississippians, than were ever gotten into the 
Confederate service during the remaining two years and a 
half of the war. Such a victory would have undoubtedly 
added more than twenty thousand Kentuckians to the army. 
Five thousand did enlist while it was still uncertain whether 
the Confederate army would remain in the State. 

Men who were then serving in the Confederate army 
know little, of course, of the temper of the Northern peo- 
ple, at that time, but many were impressed with the idea, 
then, strengthened by conversation with Northern men 
since, that if ever the Northern people doubted of subju- 
gating the South it was at that period. 

Immense efforts had been made, immense sums had been 
expended, immense armies had been sent against them, and 
still the Southern people were unconquered, defiant, and ap- 
parently stronger than ever. Would it have been possible 
to strengthen this doubt into a conviction that the attempt 
to subdue the Southern people was hopeless, and the war 
had better be stopped? Volunteering was no longer filling 
the Federal armies. Now, if the Confederate arms had 
been incontestably triumphant from the Potomac to the 
Ohio, if Northern territory had been in turn threatened with 
general invasion, and if the option of continuing a war, thus 
going against them or making peace had been submitted 
at the critical moment to the Northern people, how would 
they have decided ? Would they have encouraged their Gov- 
ernment to draft them — or would they have forced the Gov- 
ernment to make peace ? The matter was, at any rate, suffi- 
ciently doubtful to make it worth while to try the experi- 
ment. When that scare passed off, it is the firm conviction 
of more than one man who "saw the war out" that the last 
chance of Confederate independence passed away. 


The Northern people then learned, for the first time, 
their real strength ; they found that bounties and the draft, 
and the freedmen, and importations from the recruiting 
markets of the whole world would keep their armies full, 
and nothing could have made them despond again. The 
war then became merely a comparison of national resources. 
Something was undoubtedly gained by the march into Ken- 
tucky, but how little in comparison with the golden oppor- 
tunity which was thrown away. Had the combatants been 
equally matched the result of this campaign might have been 
a matter for congratulation; but when the Confederacy 
was compelled, in order to cope with its formidable antag- 
onist, to deal mortal blows in every encounter or come out 
of each one the loser, the prisoners, artillery, and small arms 
taken, the recovery of Cumberland Gap and a portion of 
Tennessee, and the supplies secured for the army, scarcely 
repaid for the loss of prestige to Confederate generalship 
and the renewal of confidence in the war party of the North. 

When Bragg moved out of Kentucky he left behind him, 
uncrippled, a Federal army which soon (having become 
more formidable than ever before) bore down upon him in 

This campaign demonstrated conclusively the immense 
importance to the Confederacy of the possession of east 
Tennessee, and the strategic advantage (especially for of- 
fenso-defensive operations) which that vast natural fortress 
afforded. While that region was firmly in the Confederate 
grasp one half of the South was safe and the conquests of 
the Federal armies of the rest were insecure. It is apparent 
at a glance that so long as we held it, communication between 
the armies of northern Virginia and of Tennessee would 
be rapid and direct; co-operation, therefore, between them 
would be secure whenever necessary. While these two 
armies could thus be practically handled almost as if they 
were one and the same, communication between the Federal 
army of the Potomac and that of the Ohio was circuitous, 
dilatory and public. No advance of the enemy through 
Tennessee into Georgia or Alabama could permanently en- 


danger the integrity of the Confederate territory, while the 
flank and rear of his army was constantly exposed to sudden 
attack by formidable forces poured upon it from this cit- 
adel of the Confederacy. 

When the army was concentrated at Harrodsburg, on the 
night of the ioth of October, Colonel Morgan was ordered 
to take position about six miles from the town, on the Dan- 
ville pike, and picket the extreme left flank. Desirous of 
ascertaining what was before him — as he could see the 
camp-fires of the enemy stretching in a great semi-circle, in 
front of Harrodsburg — Colonel Morgan during the night 
sent Captain Cassell to reconnoiter the ground in his front. 
The night was rainy and very dark. The position of both 
armies, of the main body of each at least, was distinctly 
marked by the long lines of fires which glared through the 
gloom; but we had not lighted fires and Morgan thought 
that any body of the enemy which might be confronting 
him, and detailed upon similar duty, would exercise the same 
prudence. Cassell returned about daylight and reported 
that he had discovered, exactly in front of our position and 
about a mile and a quarter from it, a small body of cavalry 
on picket, and a few hundred yards to their rear a force of 
infantry, perhaps of one regiment. He stated positively, 
also, that one piece of artillery had passed along a narrow 
lane which connected the point where the cavalry was sta- 
tioned with the position of the infantry. The intense dark- 
ness prevented his seeing the tracks made by the wheels, but 
he had satisfied himself by feeling, that, from the width of 
the tire, and the depth to which the wheels had sunk into 
the soft earth, they could only have been made by artillery. 
This report was verified on the next day in every particular. 

Colonel Morgan, at an early hour, attacked the cavalry, 
with a portion of his command, drove it back to the point 
indicated by Captain Cassell as that where he had seen the 
infantry, and sure enough, as he rode down upon it, he 
received a volley from a regiment of infantry posted behind 
a stone fence, and was opened upon by a single piece of 


About i or 2 P M., learning that General Bragg was 
falling back to Bryantsville, Colonel Morgan sent pickets 
to Harrodsburg; these soon sent word that the enemy had 
entered that place. About the same time our scouts brought 
us information that the enemy were in Danville also — about 
four miles from our position. Having an enemy, now, 
upon three sides of him, and finding that General Bragg's 
rear was unmolested, Colonel Morgan concluded in the ab- 
sence of instructions to fall back also. He accordingly 
struck across the country to Shakertown, reaching that place 
about 4 P M. Colonel Morgan had always respected the 
peaceful and hospitable " Shakers," and had afforded them, 
whenever it became necessary, protection, strictly forbid- 
ding all members of his command to trespass upon them in 
any way. We were consequently great favorites in Shaker- 
town and on this occasion derived great benefit from the per- 
fect rectitude of conduct which we had always observed — 
"in that part of the country." The entire community re- 
solved itself into a culinary committee and cooked the most 
magnificent meal for the command. It was with deep regret 
that we tore ourselves away on the next morning. 

Colonel Morgan received orders, on the 12th, to proceed 
to Nicholasville and remain there until the next day. On 
the 13th we followed the army and reached Lancaster about 
mid-day. In the afternoon the enemy, with whom General 
Wheeler had been skirmishing all day, advanced upon Lan- 
caster and opened upon the troops collected about the place 
with artillery. A little sharpshooting was also done upon 
both sides. Two guns belonging to Rain's brigade of in- 
fantry, which was General Smith's rear guard, were brought 
back and replied to the enemy's fire. One man of this sec- 
tion killed was the only loss sustained upon our side. The 
cannonading was kept up until dark. We held the town 
during the night. Only one division of Buell's army, as 
has already been stated, was sent to Lancaster. 

On the morning of the 14th we moved slowly away from 
Lancaster, our command forming (with Colonel Ashby's) 
the extreme rear guard of General Smith's corps. We were 
not at all pressed by the enemy and on the 15th halted at 


Gum Springs, twenty-five miles from Richmond. Colonel 
Morgan obtained permission from General Smith to select 
his own line of retreat from Kentucky, with the understand- 
ing, however, that he should protect the rear of the infantry 
until all danger was manifestly over. He represented to 
General Smith that he could feed his men and horses and 
have them in good condition at the end of the retreat by 
taking a different route from that pursued by the army, 
which would consume everything. He explained, more- 
over, how in the route he proposed to take he would cross 
Buell's rear, taking prisoners, capturing trains, and seri- 
ously annoying the enemy, and that establishing himself in 
the vicinity of Gallatin again he could, before he was driven 
away, so tear up the railroad once more, as to greatly retard 
the concentration of the Federal army at Nashville. It was 
perfectly apparent to General Smith that all this could be 
done, and that when Morgan reached the portion of Ten- 
nessee which he indicated he would be in exactly the proper 
position to guard one flank of the line which Bragg's army 
would probably establish. He accorded him, therefore, the 
desired permission, and on the 17th, when the infantry had 
gotten beyond Big Hill and were more than thirty miles 
from an enemy, Colonel Morgan turned over to Colonel 
Ashby the care of "the rear" and prepared to leave Ken- 
tucky in his own way. 

Colonel Morgan's force consisted at this time, counting 
troops actually with him, of the Second Kentucky (with the 
exception of one company), Gano's regiment (the Third 
Kentucky) and Breckinridge's battalion, which had rejoined 
us at Lancaster — in all about eighteen hundred men. 
Cluke's and Chenault's regiments had gone with General 
Smith. The time and situation were both propitious to such 
an expedition as he contemplated. No such dash was looked 
for by the enemy, who believed that every Confederate was 
anxious to get away as rapidly as possible by the shortest 
route. The interior of Kentucky and the route Morgan 
proposed to take were clear of Federal troops, excepting 
detachments not strong enough or sufficiently enterprising to 
give him much cause for apprehension. 


Morgan Attacks and Defeats Federals at Lexington — Marches to 
Western Kentucky and Thence to Gallatin Again — Active 
Service between Murfreesboro and Nashvieee — Battle of 
Hartville — December Raid into Kentucky — Wholesale De- 
struction of Railroad Tracks and Bridges — Capture of Eliza- 
bethtown — Fight at the Rolling Fork — Midwinter Campaign- 
ing—Combats at Woodbury, Milton and Snow's Hill — Clukf/s 
Expedition into Kentucky — Fight at Mt. Sterling. 

On the 17th of October, Colonel Morgan marched from 
Gum Springs in the direction of Lexington. The com- 
mand was put in motion about 1 P M. Gano and Breckin- 
ridge were sent to the Richmond pike, by which it was 
intended that they should approach the town, and full in- 
structions regarding the time and manner of attack were 
given them. Information had been received that a body of 
Federal cavalry had occupied Lexington a day or two pre- 
viously and Lieutenant Tom Quirk had been sent to ascer- 
tain something about them, he returned on the evening of 
the 17th, bringing accurate information of the strength and 
position of the enemy. Colonel Morgan accompanied my 
regiment (the Second Kentucky) which crossed the river 
below Clay's ferry and moved by country roads toward Lex- 
ington. The immediate region was not familiar to any man 
in the regiment, nor to Morgan himself, and, as it was 
strongly Union, some difficulty was at first anticipated about 
getting guides or information regarding the routes. This 
was obviated by Colonel Morgan's address. It was quite 
dark by the time the column was fairly across the river and 
he rode to the nearest house, where, representing himself as 
Colonel Frank Woolford, of the Federal service, a great 
favorite in that neighborhood, he expressed a wish to pro- 
cure a guide to Lexington. The man of the house declared 
his joy at seeing Colonel Woolford and expressed his per- 
fect willingness to act as guide himself. His loyal spirit 

198 morgan's cavalry. 

was warmly applauded, and his offer cordially accepted. 
Under his guidance we threaded the country safely, and 
reached the Tates creek pike at a point about ten miles from 
Lexington, a little after midnight. About 2 o'clock we 
had gotten within three miles of the town, and were not 
much more than a mile from the enemy's encampment. We 
baited here, for in accordance with the plan previously ar- 
ranged, a simultaneous attack was to be made just at day- 
light and Gano and Breckinridge had been instructed to 
that effect. 

The force encamped near Lexington, which we were 
about to attack, was the Fourth Ohio Cavalry — our old 
friends. The main body was at Ashland, about two miles 
from the town, encamped in the eastern extremity of the 
woods in which the Henry Clay mansion stands, on the 
southern side of the Richmond pike. One or two companies 
were in town, quartered at the court-house. As daylight 
approached, I put my regiment in motion, detaching two 
companies to enter the town, under command of Captain 
Cassell, and capture the provost-guard, and to also picket 
the road toward Paris. Two other companies, under Cap- 
tain Bowles, were sent to take position on the Richmond 
pike at a point between the town and the camp and about 
equidistant from them. This detachment was intended to 
intercept the enemy if they attempted to retreat from Ash- 
land to the town before we could surround the encampment, 
also to maintain communication between the detachment 
sent into town and the bulk of the regiment, in the event of 
our having to engage other forces than those we had bar- 
gained for. 

Quirk had furnished very full and positive information, 
as has already been mentioned, but he had also stated that 
the Federal General Granger was at Paris (eighteen miles 
from Lexington) and it was not impossible that he might 
have marched to Lexington within the past fifteen hours. 
Colonel Morgan instructed me to move with the remainder 
of my regiment upon the enemy's encampment. Just as 
we entered the woods and were within some five hundred 

morgan's cavalry. 199 

yards of the enemy, a smart firing was heard upon the 
Richmond pike. It turned out to be a volley let off at a 
picket force Gano had failed to capture, and which ran into 
the camp. We thought, however, that the fight had begun 
and instantly advanced at a gallop. In accordance with the 
plan previously arranged, Breckinridge was to attack on 
foot and Gano was to support him, mounted, keeping his 
column on the pike. Breckinridge was in line and advanc- 
ing (when this firing occurred) directly upon the enemy's 
front, and he opened fire just as my men formed in column 
of platoons, mounted, came charging upon the rear. I was 
upon elevated ground about one hundred yards from the 
enemy's position on one side; Breckinridge was about the 
same distance off on the other side, and the enemy were in 
a slight depression between us. Consequently I got the 
benefit of Breckinridge's fire — in great part at least. I saw 
a great cloud of white smoke suddenly puff out and rise like 
a wall pierced by flashes of flame and the next instant the 
balls came whizzing through my column, fortunately killing 
no one. This volley settled the enemy and repulsed me! 

Not caring to fight both Yankees and Rebels, I wheeled 
and took position farther back, contenting myself with catch- 
ing the stragglers who sought to escape. Breckinridge, 
however, did not enjoy his double triumph long. The how- 
itzers had been sent to take position on the right of the 
enemy — to be used only in case of a stubborn resistance; 
they happened, on that occasion, to be under command of 
Sergeant, afterward First Lieutenant Corbett, a capital offi- 
cer, but one constitutionally unable to avoid taking part in 
every fight that he was in hearing of. About the time that 
Breckinridge's men were taking victorious possession of the 
encampment Corbett opened upon it. The chapter of ac- 
cidents was not yet concluded. While my regiment was 
watching a lot of prisoners and was drawn up in line paral- 
lel to the pike, the men sitting carelessly on their horses, it 
was suddenly and unaccountably fired into by Gano's, which 
moved down and confronted it. Again, and this time al- 
most miraculously, we escaped without loss. Unfortu- 


nately, however, one prisoner was shot. Colonel Morgan 
rushed in front of the prisoners and narrowly escaped being 
killed in trying to stop the firing. His coat was pierced by 
several balls. 

The Second Kentucky began to think that their friends 
were tired of them, and were plotting to put them out of 
the way. Gano's men stated, however, that shots were first 
fired at them from some quarter. My adjutant, Captain 
Pat Thorpe, as gallant a man as ever breathed, came to me 
after this affair was over with a serious complaint against 
Gano. Thorpe always dressed with some taste and great 
brilliancy, and on this occasion was wearing a beautiful 
Zouave jacket, thickly studded upon the sleeves with red 
coral buttons. He justly believed that every man in the 
command was well acquainted with that jacket. He stated 
with considerable heat that, while he was standing in front 
of the regiment calling, gesticulating, and trying in every 
way to stop the firing, Colonel Gano, "an officer for whom 
he entertained the most profound respect and the warmest 
friendship," had deliberately shot twice at him. I bade him 
not to think hard of it — -that it was barely light at the time 
and that, of course, Gano did not recognize him. " Ah, 
Colonel," he answered, "I held up my arms full in his 
sight, and although he might not have recognized my face 
he couldn't have failed to know these buttons." 

Just before this occurred, Major Wash Morgan was mor- 
tally wounded by the last shot fired by the enemy. The man 
who hit him was galloping toward town and fired when 
within a few paces of him. This man was killed by one of 
the Second Kentucky immediately afterward. All of the 
enemy who made their escape from the camp were inter- 
cepted by Bowles. The provost guard made some show 
of fight, but were soon induced to surrender. Our force 
was too superior and our attack, on all sides, too sudden 
for much resistance to be offered, either at the camp or in the 
town. Between five and six hundred prisoners were taken ; 
very few were killed or wounded. The most valuable cap- 
ture was of army Colt's pistols, of which a large supply was 


obtained. Our horses were so much better than those which 
were captured that few of the latter were carried off. Such 
of the men who had not good saddles and blankets provided 
themselves with both in the camp. 

Resuming our march at i P M. on that day, the brigade 
passed through Versailles and went into camp at Shryoek's 
ferry. Gano and Breckinridge crossed the river and en- 
camped on the southern side; my regiment remained on 
the other side. About i o'clock at night we were awakened 
by the bursting of two or three shells in my camp. Dumont 
had learned that we had passed through Versailles and had 
started out in pursuit. He sent his cavalry on the road 
which we had taken and pressed his infantry out from 
Frankfort to Lawrenceburg. Shryoek's ferry is four miles 
from Lawrenceburg; the country between the two points 
is very broken and difficult of passage. 

Had everything been kept quiet until the infantry had 
occupied Lawrenceburg our situation would have been crit- 
ical indeed. With this disposition in our front and the road 
closed behind us, we would have been forced to take across 
the country and that would have been something like climb- 
ing over the houses to get out of a street. Colonel Morgan 
had hesitated to halt there in the first instance and was in- 
duced to do so only by the fatigue of the men and horses af- 
ter a march of over sixty miles, and the knowledge that no fit 
ground for camping was within some miles. It was a gen- 
erous act of the officer, who came in our rear, to shell us 
and it saved us a vast deal of trouble, if nothing worse. He 
had not even disturbed our pickets, but turning off of the 
road planted his guns on the high cliff which overlooks 
the ferry on that side, and sent us this intimation that we 
had better leave. Colonel Morgan comprehended his dan- 
ger at once, and as he sprang to his feet instructed one of 
the little orderlies who always slept near him to gallop to 
Colonel Gano and Major Breckinridge and direct them to 
move at once to Lawrenceburg; the one who formed first 
taking the front and picketing and holding the road to 
Frankfort as soon as the town was reached. The boys who 


were his orderlies were intelligent little fellows, well known, 
and it was our habit to obey orders brought by them as 
promptly as if delivered by a staff officer. The officers to 
whom the orders were sent were the promptest of men, and 
although my regiment formed rapidly the others were 
marching by the time it was ready to move. The howitzers 
were sent across the river first (fortunately it was shal- 
low fording at that season) and the regiment immediately 
followed. The pickets on the road to Versailles were with- 
drawn as soon as the regiment was fairly across, and the offi- 
cer in charge of them was instructed to make a rear guard of 
his detail. The entire brigade was hurrying to Lawrence- 
burg in less than twenty minutes after the first shell had 
awakened us. We reached Lawrenceburg a little after 2 
o'clock and passed through without halting, taking the 
Bloomfield road. I have heard since, but do not know if it 
be true, that General Dumont reached Lawrenceburg about 
half an hour after our rear guard quitted it. Marching 
steadily until 12 or 1 o'clock of the next day we reached 
Bloomfield, a little place whose every citizen was a warm 
friend of "Morgan's men." They met us with the utmost 
kindness, and at once provided supplies of forage and provi- 
sions. We halted only about an hour to enjoy their hospi- 
tality and then moved on toward Bardstown. 

Colonel Morgan, at this time, received information that 
there was at Bardstown a force of infantry strong enough 
to give a good deal of trouble if they chose to ensconce 
themselves in the houses. They were stationed there to 
protect sick and wounded men and hospital stores. As there 
was nothing in their capture to repay for the delay and 
probable loss it would cost, he determined to make a circuit 
around the town. This was done, the column moving 
within about a mile of the town (the pickets having been 
previously driven in) and crossing the Louisville road two 
miles from it. 

We encamped that night not far from the Elizabethtown 
road and some five or six miles from Bardstown. During 
the night Lieutenant Sales, with Company E of the Second 


Kentucky, was sent some miles down the Louisville road 
and captured one hundred and fifty wagons, the escort and 
many stragglers. The wagons were laden with supplies 
for Buell's army. They were burned with the exception of 
two sutler's wagons, which Sales brought in next morning. 
These wagons contained everything to gladden a rebel's 
heart, from cavalry boots to ginger-bread. 

The brigade moved again at 10 A. M. the next day, the 
20th, and reached Elizabethtown that evening. Here the 
prisoners picked up around Bardstown and upon the march, 
who had not been paroled during the day, were given their 
free papers. The command went into camp on the Litch- 
field road two miles from Elizabethtown. 

About 3 o'clock of the next morning a train of cars came 
clown the railroad, and troops were disembarked from it. 
A culvert, three miles from town, had been burned the 
night before, in anticipation of such a visit and the train 
necessarily stopped at that spot. Our pickets were sta- 
tioned there, and the troops were furnished a lively greeting 
as they got off the cars. After considerable detention by 
the pickets, these troops entered the town about 5 A. M. 
and at 6 A. M. we moved off on the Litchfield road. 

The brigade encamped at Litchfield on the night of the 
2 1st, and on the next day crossed Green river at Morgan- 
town and Woodbury, almost in the face of the garrison at 
Bowling Green. My regiment was in the rear on the morn- 
ing of the 23d when we marched away from Morgantown, 
and I placed it in ambush on the western side of the road 
upon which the enemy were "figuring," for they could not 
be said to be advancing. 

The road which the rest of the brigade had taken ran at 
right angles to this one and my left flank rested upon it. To 
my astonishment, about half an hour afterward, the enemy, 
also, went into ambush on the same side of the road and a 
few hundred yards from the right of my line. After they 
had gotten snug and warm, I moved off quietly after the 
column, leaving them " still vigilant." 

We crossed Mud river that night at Rochester on a 

204 morgan's cavalry. 

bridge constructed of three flat boats laid endwise, tightly- 
bound together and propped, where the water was deep, by 
beams passing under the bottom of each one and resting on 
the end of the next; each receiving this sort of support, they 
mutually braced each other. Planks were placed across the 
intervals between the boats and the horses, wagons and ar- 
tillery were crossed without trouble. The bridge was built 
in about two hours. 

On the 24th we reached Greenville; that night a tre- 
mendous snow fell — tremendous, at least, for the latitude 
and season. After crossing Mud river there was no longer 
cause for apprehension and we marched leisurely. Colonel 
Morgan had found the country through which he had just 
passed filled, as he had expected, with detachments which 
he could master or evade, and with trains which it was 
pleasant and profitable to catch. He and his followers felt 
that they had acquitted themselves well and had wittingly 
left nothing undone. A very strong disposition was felt, 
therefore, to halt for a few days at Hopkinsville, situated 
in a rich and beautiful country, the people of which were 
nearly all friendly to us. We knew that we would receive 
a hospitality which our mouths watered to think of. Colonel 
Morgan felt the more inclined to humor his command in 
this wish, because he himself fully appreciated how agree- 
able as well as beneficial this rest would be. 

Before commencing the long and rapid march from Gum 
Spring to Hopkinsville we had all been engaged in very 
arduous and constant service. This last-mentioned march 
was by no means an easy one and both men and horses 
began to show that fatigue was telling upon them. Many 
of the men were then comparatively young soldiers, and 
were not able to endure fatigue, want of sleep and exposure 
as they could do subsequently, when they had become as 
hardy and untiring as wild beasts. On this march I saw 
more ingenious culinary expedients devised than I had ever 
witnessed before. Soldiers, it is well known, never have 
any trouble about cooking meat; they can broil it on the 
coals, or, fixing it on a forked stick, roast it before a camp 


fire with perfect ease. So, no matter whether the meat 
issued them be bacon or beef or pork freshly slaughtered they 
can speedily prepare it. An old campaigner will always 
contend that meat cooked in this way is the most palatable. 
Indeed it is hard to conceive of how to impart a more deli- 
cious flavor to beef than, after a hard day's ride, by broiling 
it on a long stick before the right kind of a fire, taking care 
to pin pieces of fat upon it to make gravy ; then with pepper 
and salt, which can be easily carried, a magnificent meal 
can be made. Four or five pounds of fresh beef thus pre- 
pared will be mightily relished by a hungry man, but as it 
is easily digested he will soon become hungry again. 

It is the bread about which there is the trouble. Cavalry 
doing such service as Morgan's can not carry hard tack 
about with them very well, nor was bread ready cooked gen- 
erally found in any neighborhood (south of the Ohio) in 
sufficient quantities to supply a brigade of soldiers; and as 
the men were unwilling to do without it for any considerable 
period, they were thrown upon their own resources and 
compelled to make it themselves, notwithstanding their lack 
of proper utensils. I had often seen bread baked upon a 
flat rock or a board, or by twisting it around a ramrod or 
stick and holding it to the fire; but one method of baking 
corn bread was practiced successfully upon this march which 
I had never witnessed before. It was invented, I believe, 
in Breckinridge's battalion. The men would take meal 
dough and fit it into a corn-shuck, tying the shucks tightly. 
It would then be placed in the hot embers and in a short time 
would come out beautifully browned. This method was 
something like the Old Virginia way of making "ash cake," 
but was far preferable and the bread so made was much 
sweeter. The trouble of making up bread (without a tray) 
was very readily gotten over. Every man carried an oil- 
cloth (as they were issued to all of the Federal cavalry), 
and wheaten dough was made up on one of these. Corn 
meal was worked up into dough in the half of a pumpkin 
thoroughly scooped out. When we were in a country where 
meat, meal, and flour were readily obtained, and were not 

206 morgan's cavalry. 

compelled to march at night but could go regularly into 
camp, we never had trouble in feeding the men, although 
on our long marches and raids we never carried cooking 

At Hopkinsville, Colonel Woodward came to visit Mor- 
gan ; his command was encamped not far off. He had been 
doing excellent service in this section of the State for sev- 
eral months, and Colonel Morgan was very anxious to have 
him attached to his brigade. We remained at Hopkins- 
ville three days, and then resumed our march. 

At " Camp Coleman " we were the guests of Woodward's 
regiment; and their friends, in that neighborhood brought 
in whole wagon loads of provisions ready cooked. Hams, 
turkeys, saddles-of-mutton were too common to excite re- 
mark. We realized that we were returning to " Dixie." 
We reached Springfield, in Robertson county Tennessee, on 
the ist or 2d of November. 

We remained here two days. During this stay, a printing 
press, type, etc., having been found in the town, the Videttc 
made its appearance again. A full account of the Ken- 
tucky campaign was published, telling what everybody had 
done and hinting what was going to be done next. Pren- 
tice and Horace Greeley were properly reprimanded, and the 
London Times was commended and encouraged. A heavy 
mail had been captured on the march through Kentucky, 
containing many letters denunciatory of Buell; all these 
were published. 

While at Springfield, Gano's regiment was increased by 
the accession of two full companies under Captains Dortcli 
and Page. Captain Walter McLean, of Logan county, Ken- 
tucky, also joined us with some thirty or forty men. This 
fragment was consolidated with Company B, of the Second 
Kentucky, and McLean was made captain. He was junior 
captain of the regiment until Lieutenant Ralph Sheldon 
was promoted to the captaincy of Company C, vice Captain 
Bowles, promoted to the majoralty after Major Morgan's 

On the 4th of November we arrived at Gallatin, and were 

morgan's cavalry. 207 

received by our friends there with the wannest welcome. 
We had been absent two months and a half, and we were 
now to perform the same work to retard the return of the 
Federal army into Tennessee that we had previously done 
to embarrass its march into Kentucky. While at Hop- 
kinsville, Colonel Gano had been sent with his regiment to 
destroy the railroad between Louisville and Nashville and 
also on the Russellville branch. The bridges over Whip- 
poorwill and Elk Fork, and the bridge between Russellville 
and Bowling Green, three miles and a half from Russell- 
ville, were burned. Captain Garth of Woodward's com- 
mand joined Gano and was of great assistance to him. Some 
portion of the road between Bowling Green and Gallatin 
was destroyed. Lieutenant-Colonel Hutchinson burned the 
trestle near Springfield and the two long trestles between 
Springfield and Clarksville, which finished the work on that 
end of the road. On the 31st the trestle at the ridge and the 
three small bridges between the ridge and Goodlettsville 
were destroyed. So it will be seen that the road was 
scarcely in running condition when Morgan got through 
with it. 

Colonel Morgan captured nearly five hundred prisoners 
on this march after he left Lexington. The railroads were 
destroyed, as I have related, and when he reached Gallatin 
he was in a position to picket the right flank of Bragg's 
army, then slowly creeping around to Murfreesboro. 

When we left Hartsville the previous summer a regiment 
was organizing there for Morgan's brigade, composed prin- 
cipally of men from Sumner county. This regiment, the 
Ninth Tennessee Cavalry, became subsequently one of the 
very best in Morgan's command and won a high reputation, 
but it met with many mishaps in the process of organization. 
It had few arms, and the enemy would come sometimes and 
" practice " on it. It was several times chased all over that 
country. When we reached Gallatin this regiment joined 
the brigade; it was still in an inchoate state, but was anx- 
ious to revenge the trouble it had been occasioned. It was 
organized with James Bennett as colonel, W W Ward 

208 morgan's cavalry. 

lieutenant-colonel, and R. A. Alston, formerly Morgan's 
adjutant-general, as major. The senior captain — famous 
Dick McCann — was scouting around Nashville, holding 
high carnival and behaving much as Morgan had formerly 
done on the same ground. 

Captain McCann had served for some time in infantry, 
but found it too slow for him. He accompanied our com- 
mand on our first raid into Kentucky, and served with dis- 
tinction as a volunteer in our advance guard in the opera- 
tions around Gallatin in the summer of 1862. It would be 
impossible to recount all of his numerous adventures. He 
was so busy prowling around night and day, and so rarely 
permitted an enemy to venture beyond the fortifications of 
Nashville without some token of his thoughtful attention, 
that in all probability he could not remember his own his- 
tory. Just before we arrived at Gallatin, however, his use- 
ful (if not innocent) existence had come very near being 
terminated. He had gone on a scout one night with two 
men and Dr Robert Williams (who frequently accompanied 
him upon those "visits," as he used to term his raids around 
Nashville, "to the scenes of his happy childhood)." Not 
far from the city they came upon a picket stand, and Mc- 
Cann sent his two men around to get between the two out- 
post videttes and the base, intending then to charge down 
on them, with the Doctor, and capture them as he had taken 
many such before. The moon was shining brightly and, as 
he stole closer than was prudent upon the videttes, they dis- 
covered him and fired. One ball struck him on the brass 
buckle of his sabre belt, which happened to be stout enough 
to save his life by glancing the ball, but the blow brought 
him from his horse and convinced him that a mortal wound 
had been inflicted. 

"Dick," said the Doctor,~"are you hurt?" "Yes," groaned 
Dick, "killed — deader than a corpse — shot right through 
the bowels. Quick, Bob, pass me the bottle before I die." 

Although the men had looked forward to the time of 
their arrival at Gallatin as a period when they would enjoy 
profound rest, they were not long left quiet after getting 


there. General John C. Breckinridge had just gotten to 
Murfreesboro with a small force. He was desirous of im- 
pressing the enemy at Nashville with an exaggerated idea of 
his strength, so that the army of Rosecrans might not be 
in any too great haste to drive him away when it reached 
Nashville. General Bragg was limping on so slowly that 
it was by no means certain that a swinging march would 
not put the enemy in possession of the whole of middle 
Tennessee (with scarcely a skirmish) and shut Bragg up in 
east Tennessee. With the instinct, too, which he felt in 
common with all men who are born soldiers, Breckinridge 
wished to press upon the enemy and strike him if he dis- 
covered a vulnerable point. 

He learned that a large lot of rolling-stock (of the Louis- 
ville and Nashville Railroad), had been collected in Edge- 
field. There were, perhaps, three hundred cars in all. If 
these were burned, the damage done the enemy and the 
delay occasioned him would be very great. The cars were 
collected at a locality commanded by the batteries on the 
Capitol hill, and so near the river that all the forces in the 
city could be readily used to protect them. Breckinridge 
depended upon Morgan to burn them, but planned a diver- 
sion on the south side of the river which he hoped would at- 
tract the enemy's attention strongly and long enough to en- 
able Morgan to do his work. 

The day after we arrived at Gallatin a dispatch was re- 
ceived from General Breckinridge, communicating his plan. 
Forrest was to move on the southeastern side of Nashville, 
supported by the Kentucky infantry brigade, and Morgan 
was instructed to dash into Edgefield and burn the cars while 
Forrest was making his feigned attack. 

Our brigade moved all night (of the 5th) and striking 
through the woods came upon the northern side of Edge- 
field. Just as we struck the pickets, we heard Forrest's guns 
on the other side of the river. The Second Kentucky was 
in advance, and as the head of the column was struggling 
over a very rough place in the railroad it was opened upon 
by a company of infantry pickets, who came out from be- 


hind a small house about sixty yards off. I never saw men 
fight better than these fellows did. They were forty or 
fifty strong and had to retreat about half a mile to reach 
their lines. The timber of the ground over which they had 
to retreat had been cut down to leave the way clear for the 
play of artillery and we could not charge them. Few men 
beside those in the advance guard got a chance at them. 
They turned and fought at every step. At least eight or ten 
were killed, and only three captured. 

I lost three of my advance guard. Conrad of the guard 
was riding a large gray horse which saved his life. He rode 
close upon the enemy and one of them, presenting his gun 
within a few feet of his breast, fired. Conrad reined his 
horse tightly, making him rear and receive the ball in his 
chest. The horse fell dead, pinning his rider to the ground. 
We pressed on to within a hundred yards of the railroad 
embankment in the bottom near the river, and quite through 
Edgefield. Some little time was required to get all the regi- 
ment up, and Hutchinson and I had just formed it and the 
line was advancing when Colonel Morgan ordered us back. 
He had reconnoitered, and had seen a strong force of in- 
fantry behind the embankment; and the fire slackening on 
the other side induced him to suppose that more infantry, 
which we could see double quicking across the pontoon 
bridge was the entire garrison of that side coming to op- 
pose him. It turned out that this force coming over the 
bridge was small ; but the Sixteenth Illinois and part of an- 
other regiment were stationed behind the embankment and 
among the cars we wished to burn. We succeeded in burn- 
ing a few. A. good deal of firing was kept up by the enemy 
upon the detail engaged in the work of destruction, but 
without effect. So little attention was paid to what For- 
rest was doing that when we drew off altogether the en- 
emy followed us a mile or two. As the column filed off 
from the by-road (by which it had approached Edgefield) 
on to the Gallatin pike, the enemy drove back the pickets 
which had been sent down the pike. 

The point at which we entered the pike is about a mile 


and a quarter from Nashville. For awhile there seemed 
to be great danger that the enemy would take us in flank, 
but the column got fairly out upon the pike before the blue- 
coats hove in sight. A few of us remained behind after the 
rear guard passed, to ascertain the truth of a report the pick- 
ets brought that the enemy were moving up artillery. The 
head of an infantry column had made its appearance on the 
pike, but halted about three hundred yards from where we 
were and no firing had as yet occurred on either side. They 
seemed disposed to reconnoiter, and we were not anxious 
to draw their fire. 

Hutchinson determined to see them closer, and called to 
one of the advance guard, whom he had kept with him, to 
accompany him. This man was celebrated, not only for 
his cool, unflinching courage, but also as the best shot in the 
Second Kentucky. Every old "Morgan man" will remem- 
ber, if he has not already recognized, Billy Cooper. 

There was a considerable depression in the pike be- 
tween our position and that of the enemy. Just as our 
enterprising friends got down into this hollow, and about 
half of the distance they expected to go, the enemy com- 
menced moving forward. I shouted to Hutchinson, in- 
forming him of it, but the noise of his horse's hoofs 
drowned my voice; before he discovered the enemy he 
was within thirty paces of their column. He fired his 
pistol, and Cooper, rising in his stirrups, discharged his 
gun, killing a man; both then wheeled and spurred away 
at full speed. They got back into the hollow in time to 
save themselves, but while we were admiring their rapid 
retreat and particularly noticing Hutchinson, who came 
back in great glee, whipping his horse with his hat as was 
his custom when in a tight place, a volley, intended for 
them, came rattling into us. Two or three citizens who 
had collected to see the fun fled like deer, although one of 
them was a cripple, and we left almost as rapidly. 

I shall never forget this occasion, because it was the 
first and only time that I ever saw Colonel Richard M. 
Gano frightened. He was sitting on his horse, compla- 


cently eyeing Hutchinson's brisk retreat, and, appar- 
ently, not even remotely supposing that the enemy was 
likely to fire. One ball pierced a Mexican blanket which 
was wrapped around him, sending the red stuff with which 
it was lined flying about his head. I thought, and so did 
he, that it was his blood. If I had been mortally wounded, 
I could not have helped laughing at the injured look he at 
once drew on ; it was the look of a man who had confided 
and had been deceived. "Why, Duke," he said, "they're 
shooting at us." 

Returning to Gallatin that night (the 6th), we found 
that we were not yet to be permitted rest. Our scouts 
soon began to bring in news of the approach of Rose- 
crans' army, which was marching by the Louisville and 
Nashville pike and the Scottsville and Gallatin pike to 
Nashville. Crittenden's corps was in advance, a portion 
on each road. Colonel Morgan determined to ambuscade 
the division marching on the Louisville and Nashville 
turnpike, at a point near Tyree Springs. He selected two 
hundred men for the expedition. So much excitement 
was anticipated that all of his field officers begged to go. 
After a good deal of solicitation he permitted Gano and 
myself to accompany him, leaving Hutchinson in com- 
mand of the remainder of the brigade at Gallatin. The 
party detailed for this expedition reached the neighbor- 
hood of the proposed scene of ambush late at night, and 
on the next morning (the 8th) at daybreak took position. 

The Federal troops had encamped at Tyree Springs the 
night before. First one or two sutlers' wagons passed, 
which were not molested, although when we saw one 
fellow stop and deliberately kill and skin a sheep and 
throw it into his wagon, a general desire was felt to rob 
him in his turn. After a little while an advance guard of 
cavalry came, and then the infantry rolled along in steady 
column, laughing and singing in the fresh morning air. 
As soon as the head of the column was opposite our posi- 
tion our line arose and fired. We were within seventy- 
five yards of the road on a hill, which told against our 

morgan's cavalry. 213 

chances of doing execution, but the men had been 
cautioned to aim low. The column, unprepared for such 
an entertainment, recoiled, but soon rallied and charged 
the hill. Artillery was brought up and opened upon us. 
We did not stay long. Our loss was one man killed. I 
have never been able to learn satisfactorily what was the 
enemy's loss. Many reports were received about it, some 
of which must have been greatly exaggerated. 

Colonel Morgan immediately moved rapidly to get in 
the rear of this column. He accordingly struck the road 
again some three miles north of Tyree Springs. Posting 
the bulk of his force in a woods on the side of the road, 
he, with Lieutenant Quirk and two or three others, went 
some distance up the pike, picking up stragglers, which 
he sent back to the main body to be placed under guard. 
In this way some forty or fifty prisoners were taken. Sud- 
denly Stoke's regiment came from Tyree Springs and 
drove the detachment immediately upon the road, consist- 
ing of about fifty men, back to the main body, thus cutting 
off Colonel Morgan and his party Couriers were imme- 
diately sent to Colonel Morgan to warn him of his danger, 
but they did not reach him. He was returning, however, 
about that time, and quickened his pace when he heard a 
few shots fired. He was bringing back some ten or twelve 
prisoners. He, Lieutenant Quirk, and one or two men 
formed the head of a column of which the prisoners com- 
posed the body. Suddenly he rode right into this Federal 
regiment. He was, of course, halted and questioned. 
He stated that he was a Federal colonel, that his regiment 
was only a short distance off, and that the prisoners with 
him were men he had arrested for straggling. His ques- 
tioners strongly doubted his story, and said that his dress 
was a very strange one for a Federal colonel; that rebels 
often wore blue clothes, but they had never heard of their 
officers wearing gray. The prisoners, who never doubted 
that he would now be captured in his turn, listened, 
grinning, to the conversation, but said nothing. He sud- 
denly pretended to grow angry, said that he would bring 


his regiment to convince them who he was, and galloped 
away. Quirk followed him. Before an effort could be 
made to stop them, they leaped their horses over the 
fence and struck, at full speed, across the country. In the 
course of an hour they rejoined the rest of us and relieved 
our minds of very grave apprehensions. 

It is probable that no other man than Colonel Morgan 
would have escaped in such a situation death or capture. 
But his presence of mind and address in the midst of a 
great and imminent danger were literally perfect. I have 
known many similar escapes, where the chances were not 
so desperate ; but in each case but this there was some cir- 
cumstance to intimidate, or to contribute to mystify the 
enemy. On this occasion every circumstance was adverse 
to him. 

The prisoners, fifty or sixty in number, were paroled in 
the course of the day. Our party encamped that night 
about seven miles from Gallatin. Colonel Morgan when 
he started upon this expedition knew that Wood's and 
Van Cleve's divisions were marching toward Gallatin, and 
he cautioned Hutchinson not to make a fight if during his 
absence the enemy approached the town, simultaneously, 
upon more than two roads. He knew that Hutchinson would 
be vigilant, but he feared that his indisposition to avoid 
fighting would induce him to engage a larger force of 
the enemy than he could repulse. Early in the morning 
of the day succeeding that on which the events I have just 
described occurred, the enemy marched into Gallatin. 
They had threatened the place on three sides during the 
night, but Hutchinson hoping to repulse them would not 

In the morning, however, they demonstrated in such 
strength as to convince him that he had better not fight, 
and so, sending the brigade on the Lebanon road to cross 
the Cumberland, he retained only the advance guard of 
the Second Kentucky and the howitzers to salute the 
enemy as they entered. His guns were planted upon an 
eminence on the Lebanon road, just outside of town, and 


as the head of a column of infantry turned into that road 
they were opened, causing it to recoil. Several good 
shots were made, but as the little pieces were limbered up to 
move off, a line of infantry was discovered drawn up across 
the road in the rear of the party ; it had taken position very 
quietly while they were amusing themselves cannonading the 
troops in town. 

Hutchinson, Breckinridge, Alston, and nearly every 
field and staff officer of the brigade were in the trap. They 
tried to escape upon another road and found that also 
blockaded. Finally, sending the howitzers and the advance 
guard across a pasture into the Springfield road, Hutch- 
inson, with the numerous "officials" in his train, made the 
best of his way across the country and rejoined the 
brigade. The advance guard and the howitzers dashed 
gallantly past a large body of the enemy, but were neither 
checked nor injured. The retreat of the others diverted 
(as was intended) attention from them to some extent, 
and they rattled on down the pike at a brisk canter, con- 
fident, now that they were not surrounded, that they 
could whip a moderate sized brigade. 

We had already learned that the enemy had entered 
Gallatin, and I was especially rejoiced to find that the 
"Bull Pups," and my advance guard — the flower of my 
regiment — all safe. We at once turned toward the river, 
and marching, until we reached it, through the woods and 
fields, crossed at a ford, some miles lower down than that 
which the brigade had crossed. We reached Lebanon on 
the same afternoon and found our fugitive friends there. 
Colonel Morgan formally congratulated Hutchinson upon 
his "improved method of holding a town." 

This was the 9th, and the bulk of the brigade went into 
camp, four miles from Lebanon, on the Murfreesboro 
pike. As Rosecrans' army came pouring into Nashville 
the commandant there manifested a strong disposition to 
learn how matters stood outside. On the night of the 
9th, a force of the enemy came down the Nashville and 
Lebanon pike to Silver Springs, seven miles from Leba- 

216 morgan's cavalry. 

non. Scouts were sent to observe this force, and returned, 
reporting that it manifested no disposition to move. 
Almost immediately after the scouts came back to Leba- 
non, the enemy came, too, having moved just behind the 
scouts. There was no force in Lebanon to meet them 
and they held the place until Hime's company, of Breckin- 
ridge's battalion, was sent to drive them out. That night 
Breckinridge's entire battalion was sent to the town, sup- 
ported by Bennett's regiment. 

On the evening of the nth, they were both driven away 
by a heavy force of infantry and cavalry, but, reinforced 
by Gano, checked the enemy a short distance from the 
town. When the enemy retreated, Gano' pressed him, 
taking one hundred and fifty-eight prisoners. 

On the 13th or 14th the enemy returned, and Breckin- 
ridge drove them away, following them eleven miles on 
the Hartsville pike. On this occasion a very handsome 
feat was performed by a scouting party under command 
of Sergeant McCormick, of Breckinridge's battalion. 
Billy Peyton, who had killed an officer and brought off his 
horse and pistol a day or two before, went with him as 
"military adviser." Major Breckinridge sent this scouting 
party to ascertain where the enemy had halted. It went 
through the woods and found the enemy had encamped 
on the river bank, fifteen miles from Lebanon. Returning 
by the road the party stumbled upon a vidette stationed 
about a half mile from the camp and between it and a 
picket base, which he said was a short distance off. He 
also informed them that all the pickets had been notified 
that a scouting party would shortly leave camp and pass 
through them on that road. The idea at once occurred to 
McCormick to represent that scouting party with his; so, 
carrying the prisoner with him, he rode through the 
pickets at the head of his men, receiving and returning 
their salutes, John Haps, of Company F, Second Ken- 
tucky, tightly gripping the prisoner's throat, meanwhile, 
to prevent inopportune disclosures. Just as the pariy got 


clear of the base they were discovered, and one man's 
horse falling, he was made prisoner. 

On the 15th Breckinridge and Bennett were sent to 
Baird's mill, eight miles from Lebanon and eleven from 
Murfreesboro, where the Second Kentucky had been en- 
camped since the ioth. During that time it had been 
operating in the direction of Nashville, the most success- 
ful expedition having been made by Major Bowles, who 
defeated a body of the enemy superior in numbers to his 
own detachment, killing several and taking some prison- 
ers. About this time a large force of the enemy took 
position at Jefferson, seven miles from Baird's mill. This 
force required constant watching, and scouts were kept 
in sight of its encampment at all hours of the twenty-four, 
with instructions to fire upon the pickets as often as each 
detail was relieved. Spence's battery was sent from Mur- 
freesboro to Baird's mill to reinforce us. 

On the 16th Gano, who had remained at Lebanon, was 
driven away by a large force of cavalry and two brigades 
of infantry. One of the latter got in his rear and gave 
him a good deal of trouble. After making a gallant fight, 
he fell back to Baird's mill. Two or three days after this, 
Hutchinson was sent, with a portion of the Second Ken- 
tucky, to watch the Nashville and Lebanon pike, between 
Stone river and Silver Springs, at which latter place a 
strong force of the enemy was encamped. Information 
had been received that foraging parties of the enemy had 
been habitually resorting to that particular neighborhood, 
and it was thought that some of them could be caught. 
Hutchinson missed the foragers but captured a picket 
detail thirty or forty strong at Stone river, and brought 
his prisoners and their horses into camp. 

A little later Major Steele, with a detachment from his 
regiment, went on an expedition to Hartsville. Just as his 
column had crossed the river and ascended the bank, it 
was attacked by a portion of Woolford's regiment. Major 
Steele was forced to recross the river and return, but before 
doing so beat off his assailants. 


On the 23d, Hutchinson, with Company A, of Breckin- 
ridge's battalion and a detail from the Second Kentucky, 
in all two hundred men, and the howitzers, attacked the 
enemy encamped at Gallatin landing on the southern side, 
and drove them out of their encampment and across the 
river. A good many other scouts and expeditions were 
made, replete with personal adventures. 

It was a very busy season and a good many prisoners 
were taken; they were brought in from some quarter 
every day. Our own loss was slight. Colonel Morgan 
believed that, with enemies so near him in so many quar- 
ters, he could defend himself only by assuming the 

General Bragg's army did not reach Murfreesboro until 
the 20th or 2 1 st. During that time General Breckinridge 
had some four thousand infantry. Rosecrans' army must 
have been concentrated in Nashville by the 12th. Two 
days' marching would have brought it to Murfreesboro. 
General Breckinridge could not have repulsed it; of 
course it could have been subsisted for a week off of the 
country, or its foragers had lost their cunning. In that 
time General Bragg would have been forced, in all prob- 
ability, to return to east Tennessee without a chance to 
deliver battle with a rational hope of success. His army 
was footsore, weary, and could not have been readily con- 
centrated. Buell was removed because he was thought 
to be "slow" and dull to perceive and seize favorable 
opportunities. There will always be a difference of 
opinion about which opportunities were the safest to 
seize. A very prevalent opinion obtained in "Morgan's 
cavalry" (who thought that they appreciated Buell), that 
had he been in command at Nashville on the 12th of 
November, 1862, he would have marched without delay 
on Murfreesboro. It is not too much to claim that Morgan's 
destruction of the railroads delayed, not only the concentra- 
tion at Nashville but the movement thence to Murfreesboro, 
The activity of Morgan, Forrest, and the other Confederate 


cavalry commanders, in November, and the firm attitude of 
Breckinridge, also contributed to prevent it. 

In the latter part of November Colonels Cluke and 
Chenault rejoined the brigade. Their regiments were not 
improved by the trip through the mountains and the list 
of absentees from each was large. Major Stoner also 
brought a battalion to Morgan, transferred from Mar- 
shall's brigade. About the same time the men of the "Old 
Squadron," who had been captured at Lebanon, returned 
to us. They had been exchanged a month or two pre- 
viously, but had been unable to get to the brigade sooner. 
We were glad to welcome them back. They had been 
only seven months away and they returned to find the 
command they had last seen as less than half a regiment 
grown to be a brigade of five regiments and two bat- 

These men were organized by Colonel Morgan into a 
company of scouts, to be attached to no regiment. Lieu- 
tenant Thomas Quirk, promoted to be captain, was ap- 
pointed to command them, and Lieutenant Owens, who 
had been captured and exchanged with them, was made 
their first lieutenant. Lieutenant Sellers, who had been 
also captured at Lebanon, was assigned to one of Ben- 
nett's companies; the scouts were at once armed, equipped 
and mounted. The company numbered about sixty total 
effective and was a very fine one. 

On the 24th, the Second Kentucky, under command of 
Hutchinson, and Breckinridge's battalion were sent to 
Fayetteville, Lincoln county, Tennessee, to rest men and 
horses; and the other regiments of the brigade were 
less severely worked than during the past two or three 

Rosecrans seemed extremely anxious to shut us out 
from the country around Gallatin and Hartsville, perhaps 
on account of the supplies of meat which could be ob- 
tained there, and which the sympathy of the people 
enabled us to obtain if we could readily communicate with 
them. Strong garrisons were established at Gallatin and 


Castalian Springs, about six or eight miles from Harts- 
ville, and at the latter place. The fact that any force of 
Confederates marching to attack these garrisons, unless 
it made a wide detour eastward, would expose its flank 
and rear to attack from the Federal forces in front of 
Nashville — not to consider the resistance of the garrisons 
themselves — seemed to insure that country from Confed- 
erate intrusion. 

Colonel Morgan had persistently requested permission 
to attack the garrison at Hartsville, and it was at length 
given him. He was allowed to take detachments from 
two of the regiments of the Kentucky Infantry Brigade — 
three hundred and seventy-five men from the Second and 
three hundred and twenty from the Ninth Kentucky — 
also Cobb's battery, attached to that brigade, and a very 
fine one. The detachment from the Second Kentucky 
was commanded by Major James W Hewitt, and that from 
the Ninth by Captain James T Morehead. The entire 
infantry force was under the command of Colonel Thomas 
W Hunt, the colonel of the Ninth Kentucky, a very 
superior officer. He was Colonel Morgan's uncle. On 
the morning of the 7th of December Colonel Morgan set 
out on this expedition. The cavalry force was placed 
under my command, and consisted of Gano's, Bennett's, 
Cluke's and Chenault's regiments and Stoner's bat- 
talion — in all numbering fourteen hundred men. Han- 
son's brigade was encamped at Baird's mill. Here the 
infantry detachment joined us. Quirk's "scouts" and 
other scouting parties were sent to reconnoiter in the 
direction of Hartsville, to watch the enemy at Castalian 
Springs and the fords of the river, and to picket the Nash- 
ville and Lebanon pike. The "combined forces" left 
Baird's mill about 1 1 A. M. and passed through Lebanon 
about 2 P M., taking the Lebanon and Hartsville pike. 
The snow lay upon the ground and the cold was intense. 

The infantry had been promised that they should ride 
part of the way and, accordingly, a few miles beyond Leba- 
non a portion of the cavalry lent their horses to them. 


This, however, was an injudicious measure. The infantry- 
had gotten their feet wet in trudging through the snow 
and, after riding a short time, were nearly frozen and 
clamored to dismount. The cavalrymen had now gotten 
their feet saturated with moisture, and when they re- 
mounted suffered greatly in their turn. There was some 
trouble, too, in returning the horses to the proper parties 
(as this last exchange was effected after dark) and the 
infantrymen damned the cavalry service with all the re- 
sources of a soldier's vocabulary. 

The infantry and Cobb's battery reached the ferry 
where it was intended that they should cross about 10 
o'clock at night, and were put across in two small leaky 
boats, a difficult and tedious job. When the cavalry 
reached the ford where Colonel Morgan had directed me 
to cross I found that the river had risen so much since the 
last reconnoissance that it was past fording at that point, 
and I had to seek a crossing farther down. The ford 
(where I decided to cross) was so difficult of approach 
that the operation of crossing was very slow. The men 
could reach the river bank only by a narrow bridle path 
which admitted but one horse at a time. They were then 
compelled to leap into the river from the bluff about four 
feet high. Horse and man would generally be submerged 
by the plunge — a cold bath very unpleasant in such 
weather. The ascent on the other side was nearly as dif- 
ficult. In a little while the passage of the horses rendered 
the approach to the river even more difficult. The ford 
was not often used, and the unbeaten path became cut up 
and muddy. The cold (after the ducking in the river) 
affected the men horribly; those who got across first 
built fires, at which they partially warmed themselves 
while the others were crossing. Fifteen, however, were 
frozen so stiff that they had to be left. 

Finding as the night wore on, that day would appear 
before all got across and fearing that I would detain 
Colonel Morgan, I moved (with those already on the 
northern bank) about 3 o'clock, leaving a great part of 


my column still on the southern side of the river. I posted 
pickets to watch the roads by which they could be at- 
tacked, and instructed the officers to hurry on to Harts- 
ville as soon as practicable. I had about five miles to 
march to rejoin Colonel Morgan, and found him at the 
point he had designated as the one where I should rejoin 
him, some three miles from Hartsville. He decided not 
to wait for the remainder of the cavalry, fearing that infor- 
mation would be taken to Castalian Springs and he would 
be himself attacked. He, therefore, moved forward at 
once. Just at daylight the cavalry, who were marching in 
front, came upon a strong picket force about half a mile 
from the encampment, who fired and retreated. We were 
thus prevented from surprising the enemy before they 
formed. Colonel Morgan, however, did not expect to do 
so, for he had no certain plan of capturing the pickets 
without giving the alarm. 

Stoner's battalion was not taken across the river, but 
was ordered to move with the two small howitzers (the 
"Bull Pups") to a point on the southern bank just oppo- 
site the left of the enemy's encampment, and, if possible, 
produce the impression that the attack would be delivered 
thence. While Stoner could inflict little damage with 
either musketry or the fire from his little pieces, he never- 
theless attracted the attention of the enemy so success- 
fully that the Federal artillery, directed upon him, did not 
annoy us until after we had formed for attack. Colonel 
Morgan had estimated the strength of the garrison, from 
the reports of his scouts, to be about fifteen hundred, 
chiefly infantry. It was considerably stronger than that. 
It consisted of the One hundred and fourth Illinois In- 
fantry, One hundred and sixth Ohio Infantry, One hun- 
dred and eighth Ohio Infantry, Third Indiana Cavalry, 
one company of the Eleventh Kentucky Cavalry and one 
section of the Thirteenth Indiana Battery — aggregate 
effective strength, two thousand and ninety-six (Official 
Records, War of the Rebellion, Series i, Vol. XX, part I, 


page 45). The two guns of the Indiana Battery were 
three-inch rifled Parrotts. 

As I have previously said, a large part of my column, 
at least five hundred, had not crossed the river when I 
moved to rejoin Colonel Morgan, and did not arrive until 
after the conclusion of the fight. Of the cavalry which 
was up, Bennett's regiment was sent into the town of 
Hartsville and to watch the roads leading to Gallatin and 
Castalian Springs. At the latter place, a garrison was 
stationed, estimated to be from six to eight thousand 
strong; and as it was only six miles distant, attack from 
that quarter was to be apprehended, so soon as the troops 
there should be alarmed by the firing at Hartsville and 
could march to the assistance of their comrades. 

Of the force under my command, therefore, Cluke's 
and Chenault's regiments together numbered, after de- 
ducting horse-holders, only four hundred and fifty men, 
so that our number actually engaged was less than twelve 
hundred. The enemy was encamped on wooded ground, 
slightly elevated above the surrounding meadows. Oppo- 
site his right flank and centre was a large meadow, be- 
tween which and the woods occupied by his encampment 
and line subsequently formed was a depression which 
gradually deepened toward the southward until it became 
a ravine nearly ten feet deep and with steep banks. 
Colonel Morgan had intended that the infantry should 
form in the shelter of this ravine, but the enemy's line was 
established so near it that it was not practicable to do so. 
When we came in sight of the enemy and saw his line 
deploying it was immediately apparent that he was much 
stronger than he had been reported. I said to Colonel 
Morgan: "You have more work cut out for you than 
you bargained for." "Yes," he answered, "and you 
gentlemen must whip and catch these fellows and cross 
the river in two hours and a half, or we'll have six thou- 
sand more on our backs." 

He then ordered me to form my command opposite to 
and partially outflanking the right of the enemy's line. I 


was expected to defeat that flank and drive it back upon 
the rear of the enemy's centre, and then our infantry was 
to complete the work. I formed Cluke and Chenault at 
a gallop — Cluke just in front of the regiment which com- 
posed the enemy's right flank; Chenault obtusely to 
Ciuke and on the latter's left, and in a position to com- 
pletely enfilade the Federal line when at close range. My 
line dismounted at about four hundred yards from the 
enemy and at once advanced rapidly. One good sign was 
that our ringing shouts were answered by very feeble 
cheers. These two regiments had never been under fire 
before, with the exception of one small skirmish which 
Cluke's had witnessed in Kentucky ; but they moved on 
with perfect steadiness, and driving in the Federal 
skirmishers pressed down on the line at a double quick. 
Our open formation enabled us to cover the entire front 
of the force to which we were opposed with a smaller 
number of men; and also, while affording less exposure 
to the fire, the men could aim to better advantage. The 
Federal line fired by rank, the volleys doing less harm 
because our men had reached the hollow. Little time was 
given them to reload. When within about eighty yards 
our fellows opened in earnest, Cluke still pressing on the 
front, and Chenault having swept so far around and then 
closed in that the Federal line was taken almost com- 
pletely in reverse. It gave way. at first slowly, but in a 
short time in complete disorder. We kept close after 
them, the two regiments swinging around until they were 
at right angles to the direction of their original formation, 
and the troops which had confronted them had been 
driven back upon the rear of the Federal centre and left. 
This part of the fight was of some twenty minutes' dura- 
tion. In the meantime Cobb's battery had been hotly 
engaged with the enemy's Parrotts, which had been 
brought back from the Federal left so soon as it became 
apparent where our real attack would be made. One of 
Cobb's caissons was blown up, doing smart damage, but 


occasioned no slacking of his fire, which was extremely 

Just as our success on the left was completed, Colonel 
Hunt had formed the infantry and sent them in en echelon, 
the Second Kentucky leading, against the enemy's centre 
and right. The infantry had marched quite thirty miles, 
over slippery roads and through the chilling cold, and I 
saw some of them stumble as they charged with fatigue 
and numbness; but the brave boys rushed in as if they 
were going to a frolic. The Second Kentucky dashed 
across the ravine, and as it emerged in some slight dis- 
order, the command was unfortunately given it to halt 
and "dress." There was no necessity for the order, the 
regiment was within fifty yards of the enemy, who were 
dropping and recoiling under its fire. Several officers 
sprang to the front and called on the men to advance, and 
Color Sergeant John Oldham pressed forward with the 
colors. The regiment rushed forward again, but in that 
brief halt sustained the greater part of its loss. Just then 
the Ninth Kentucky came up, the men yelling and bound- 
ing along like panthers. The enemy gave back in con- 
fusion, and were again pressed in the rear by Cluke and 
Chenault, who were at this juncture reinforced by seventy- 
five men of the Third Kentucky under Lieutenant-Colonel 
John Huffman, who during Gano's absence was com- 
manding that regiment. A few minutes then sufficed to 
finish the affair. The enemy were crowded together like 
sheep in a pen, and were falling fast. The white flag was 
hoisted in a little more than an hour after the first shot 
was fired. 

Our loss in killed and wounded was one hundred and 
twenty-five, of which the Second Kentucky lost sixty- 
two; the Ninth, sixteen; Cobb's battery, ten and the 
cavalry thirty-seven (Official Records, War of the Rebel- 
lion, supra, page 65). Lieutenant-Colonel Cicero Cole- 
man, of the Eighth Kentucky Cavalry (Cluke's regiment) 
was seriously wounded. He was a very gallant and ac- 
complished officer and the men of his regiment were much 

226 morgan's cavalry. 

attached to him. Some fine officers of the infantry regi- 
ments were lost. Captain Robert Tyler, of Colonel 
Morgan's staff, was severely wounded by the explosion of 
the caisson. A loss which was deeply regretted by Mor- 
gan's entire command was that of little Craven (Billy) 
Peyton. Colonel Morgan was in the habit of selecting 
as his orderlies the most intelligent and gentlemanly little 
fellows among the youngest of his command. Of these 
Peyton was the best known and most popular. He per- 
formed on the field the duties of an aide, and his sense 
and integrity were such that the officers of the command 
would not hesitate to act upon any verbal order that he 
bore them. Although only sixteen years old, he was very 
capable and perfectly fearless. Exposing himself in this 
fight with his usual recklessness, he received a wound of 
which he shortly died. 

The loss of the enemy in killed and wounded was two 
hundred and sixty-two and in prisoners eighteen hundred 
and thirty-four (Records War of the Rebellion, supra, 
page 45). 

Men could not possibly behave better in battle than our 
troops did in this one. Every officer and man exhibited 
dauntless resolution, and moved confidently and irresist- 
ibly against everything that confronted him. The sudden 
discovery at the beginning of the fight that the enemy 
was so much stronger than we had supposed him to be 
seemed only to stimulate their courage. They had liter- 
ally made up their minds not to be beaten. 

The tents and material which could not be carried off 
were burned, and a number of captured wagons were 
loaded with arms and portable stores and hurried over the 
river. The most valuable capture was of boots and shoes, 
for some of the cavalrymen, especially of Cluke's and 
Chenault's regiments, had no other covering for their feet 
than rags. 

The prisoners were gotten across the river as rapidly 
as possible and the infantry were taken over behind the 
cavalrymen. Some of the prisoners were made to wade 


the river, as the enemy from Castalian Springs began to 
press upon us so closely that we could not stand upon the 
order of transportation. Cluke's regiment was posted 
upon the Gallatin road to hold the enemy in check, 
Quirk's scouts having already retarded their advance. 
Gano's regiment was sent as soon as it got up to support 
Cluke. Nothing but the rapid style in which the fight had 
been conducted and finished saved us. We had no sooner 
evacuated the ground than the enemy occupied it, and 
our guns which opened upon them from the southern 
shore were answered by their batteries. 

No pursuit was attempted and we marched leisurely 
back through Lebanon, regaining our camps late in the 
night. Two splendid pieces of artillery were among the 
trophies, which did good service in our hands until they 
were recaptured upon the "Ohio raid." This expedition 
was justly esteemed the most brilliant thing that Morgan 
had ever done, and was referred to with pride by every 
man who was in it. 

General Bragg in his congratulatory order issued to 
the army on account of it spoke in the highest terms of 
the conduct of the troops, especially of the remarkable 
march of the infantry, and he says : 

"To Brigadier-General Morgan and to Colonel Hunt the General 
tenders his thanks, and assures them of the admiration of his army. 
The intelligence, zeal, and gallantry displayed by them will serve as an 
example and an incentive to still more honorable deeds. To the other 
brave officers and men composing the expedition the general tenders 
his cordial thanks and congratulations. He is proud of them and hails 
the success achieved by their valor as but the prescursor of still greater 
victories. Each corps engaged in the action will in future bear upon its 
colors the name of the memorable field." 

The victory of Hartsville brought Colonel Morgan his 
long-expected and long-delayed commission of brigadier- 
general. He had long been styled general by his men, 
and had been of late habitually so addressed in official 
communications from army headquarters. Many and 
urgent applications had been made by influential parties 
and officers of high rank for his promotion. General 

228 morgan's cavalry. 

Smith had strongly urged it, General Bragg concurring, 
but while brigadiers were being uttered as rapidly almost 
as Confederate money he remained a simple colonel. 
President Davis happened to visit Murfreesboro a few 
days after the Hartsville affair and gave him his commis- 
sion, making Hanson, also, a brigadier of even date. This 
promotion of my chief made me a colonel, and Hutchin- 
son a lieutenant-colonel, thus illustrating that many 
felicitous consequences will sometimes flow from one 
good act. The latter had occupied a very anomalous posi- 
tion ; while really a captain, he had acted as and been 
styled lieutenant-colonel. Being an excellent officer who 
had seen a great deal of service, and acting as second in 
command of an unusually large regiment, he was placed 
frequently upon detached service and in very responsible 
situations, and sometimes commanded lieutenant-colonels 
of legitimate manufacture, just as Morgan, while only a 
general "by courtesy," commanded floating brigadiers 
who came within his vortex. It proved more agreeable 
to men, who were really modest, to take rank by the 
virtue of commissions rather than in this irregular fashion, 
and the example was better. General Hardee urged that 
Morgan's commission should be made out as major-general, 
but Mr. Davis said "I do not wish to give my boys all of 
their sugar plums at once." 

At Bryantsville, in Kentucky, Colonel Joseph Wheeler 
had been appointed chief of cavalry, and Morgan, Scott, 
Ashby — all of the cavalry commanders — had been ordered 
to report to him. Colonel Wheeler was a very dashing 
officer, and had done excellent service, but he had, at that 
time, neither the experience nor the record of Morgan. 
He was with Wheeler so little, however, in Kentucky, 
that he found not much inconvenience from having a 
"chief of cavalry" to superintend him. Morgan was, of 
course, perfectly independent upon his retreat out of Ken- 
tucky and in his operations afterward in north middle 
Tennessee — indeed, with the exception of having to re- 
port to General Breckinridge, while the latter was in com- 

Basil W. Duke 

Commanding ist Brigade, Morgan's Division 



mand at Murfreesboro, and afterward to the commander- 
in-chief, he was perfectly independent until a period even 
later than that of his promotion. 

There is no doubt that General Morgan's free and easy 
way of appointing his own officers and of conducting all 
of his own military affairs, as well as his intense aversion 
to subordinate positions, had excited much official disap- 
probation and some indignation against him at Richmond. 

When Morgan received this rank his brigade was quite 
strong, and composed of seven regiments. Breckinridge's 
and Stoner's battalions were consolidated, and formed a 
regiment above the minimum strength.* Breckinridge 
became colonel and Stoner lieutenant-colonel. Shortly 
after the Hartsville fight Colonel Adam R. Johnson 
reached Murfreesboro with his regiment. It had been 
raised in western Kentucky and was very strong upon the 
rolls, but from losses by capture and other causes had 
been reduced to less than four hundred effective men. It 
was a fine body of men and splendidly officered. Colonel 
Johnson had already won reputation for courage, energy 
and capacity, and Robert W Martin, the lieutenant- 
colonel, was a man of extraordinary dash and resolution 
and very shrewd in partisan warfare. Owens, the major, 
was a very gallant man and excellent disciplinarian. 

On the 14th of December an event occurred which was 
thought by many to have materially affected General Mor- 
gan's efficiency and subsequent fortunes. He was married 
to Miss Ready, of Murfreesboro, a lady to whom he was 
devotedly attached and who deserved to exercise over him 
the great influence which she was thought to have possessed. 
The marriage ceremony was performed by General Polk, by 
virtue of his commission as bishop, but in full lieutenant- 
general's uniform. The residence of the Honorable Charles 
Ready, father of the bride, held a happy assembly that night 
— it was one of a very few scenes of happiness which that 
house was destined to witness before its olden memories of 
joy and gayety were to give place to heavy sorrow and the 

*The Ninth Kentucky Cavalry, C. S. A. 


harsh insolence of the invader. The bridegroom's friends 
and brothers-in-arms and the commander-in-chief and Gen- 
erals Hardee, Cheatham, and Breckinridge felt called upon 
to stand by him on this occasion. 

Greenfell was in a high state of delight; although he had 
regretted General Morgan's marriage— thinking that it 
would render him less enterprising — he declared that a wed- 
ding, at which a bishop-militant clad in general's uniform, 
officiated and the chief of an army and his corps commanders 
were guests, certainly ought not to soften a soldier's temper. 
On his way home that night he sang Moorish songs with a 
French accent to English airs, and was as mild and agreeable 
as if some one was going to be killed. 

The seven regiments which composed the brigade repre- 
sented an aggregate force of over four thousand in camp — 
when they were gotten together, which was about the 18th, 
the Second Kentucky returning then from Fayetteville. Sev- 
eral hundred men, however, were dismounted and totally 
unarmed and unequipped. This force was so unwieldy as 
one brigade that General Morgan determined to divide it 
into two parts which should be organized in all respects as 
two brigades, and should lack but the sanction of the general 
commanding (which he hoped to obtain) to be such in 
reality. He accordingly indicated as the commanders of the 
two brigades (as I shall call them for the sake of conveni- 
ence) Colonel Breckinridge and myself. There was no 
doubt of Colonel A. R. Johnson's seniority to all the other 
colonels, but he positively declined to accept the command 
of either brigade, and signified his willingness to serve 
in a subordinate capacity. 

There was some discussion as to whether Cluke or Breck- 
inridge should command one of the brigades after Johnson 
declined. It was a mooted question whether Cluke's rank as 
colonel dated from the period at which he received his com- 
mission to raise a regiment, or from the period at which his 
regiment became filled. In the former case he would rank 
Breckinridge ; in the latter he would not. None of us, then, 
(with the exception of Johnson) had received our commis- 


sions although our rank was recognized. There was no 
wrangle for the position, however, between these officers, 
as might be inferred from my language. On the contrary, 
each at first declined and urged the appointment of the other. 
General Morgan settled the matter by appointing Breckin- 

The first brigade (mine) was composed of the Second 
Kentucky, Lieutenant-Colonel Hutchinson commanding; 
Gano's regiment, the Third Kentucky, Lieutenant-Colonel 
Huffman commanding (Gano was absent on furlough) ; 
Cluke's regiment, the Eighth Kentucky, Colonel Leroy S. 
Cluke commanding; Palmer's battery of four pieces (two 
twelve-pounder howitzers and two six-pounder guns) was 
attached to this brigade. The second brigade (Breckin- 
ridge's ) was composed of his own regiment, the Ninth Ken- 
tucky, Lieutenant-Colonel Stoner commanding; Johnson's 
regiment, the Tenth Kentucky, Colonel Johnson command- 
ing; Chenault's regiment, the Eleventh Kentucky, Colonel 
Chenault commanding; and Bennett's regiment, the Ninth 
Tennessee, Colonel Bennett commanding. To this brigade 
was attached one three-inch Parrott, commanded by Cap- 
tain White, and the two mountain howitzers under Lieu- 
tenant Corbett. 

On the 2 1st of December the division was in camp at and 
around Alexandria. The first brigade was reviewed on that 
day and numbered, of cavalry, eighteen hundred effective 
men. There were in its ranks more than that number. The 
Second Kentucky mustered seven hundred and forty and the 
other two regiments about six hundred each. There were in 
this brigade, however, nearly two hundred men unarmed 
but mounted. The entire strength of the brigade, of armed 
and unarmed men, including Palmer's battery, was very 
little short of two thousand and one hundred men. The 
second brigade was, including artillerists, about eighteen 
hundred strong, but it, too, had some unarmed men in its 
ranks. These fellows without guns were not as useless as 
might be imagined, for (when it was satisfactorily ascer- 
tained that it was not their own fault that they were un- 


armed, and that they could be trusted) they were employed 
as horse-holders. The division, therefore, including Quirk's 
"scouts" reporting to division headquarters, numbered quite 
three thousand and nine hundred. In General Morgan's re- 
port of the expedition undertaken into Kentucky immedi- 
ately after this organization the strength of the division is 
estimated at thirty-one hundred armed men. This, was a 
mistake upon the part of his adjutant-general, which I 
sought to correct at the time. The proportion of men un- 
armed was nothing like so large. Just before the march was 
taken up for Kentucky from Alexandria, Colonel Greenfell, 
still acting as General Morgan's adjutant-general up to that 
date, resigned his position and did not accompany him upon 
the expedition. We all bade him farewell with genuine 

Captain W M. Maginis, acting assistant adjutant-general 
of the first brigade, was immediately appointed in his 
stead. This officer was very young but had seen a great deal 
of arduous service. He had served in the infantry for more 
than a year ; he had seen Belmont, Shiloh, Farmington, and 
Perryville, had behaved with the greatest gallantry, and had 
won the encomiums of his chiefs. He had been assigned to 
staff duty just before he came to us, and had acted in the 
capacity of ordnance officer for General Walthall. He had 
been assigned upon General Morgan's application (at my 
urgent request ) to his command and, as has been stated, was 
on duty with the first brigade when General Morgan sud- 
denly stood in need of an assistant adjutant-general and took 
him, intending to keep him temporarily. He was so much 
pleased with him that, upon his return from this expedition, 
he procured his commission in the Adjutant and Inspector 
General's Department and his assignment to him. He re- 
mained with General Morgan until his death. 

On the morning of December 22d the division took up its 
march for Kentucky. General Bragg desired that the roads 
in the rear which Rosecrans had repaired should again be 
broken and the latter's communication with Louisville de- 
stroyed. The service was an important one; it was meet 

morgan's cavalry. 233 

that, for many reasons, this expedition, the first Confederate 
movement into Kentucky since Bragg's retreat, should be a 
brilliant one. General Morgan had under his command at 
that time the largest force he ever handled, previously or 
afterward, and he would not have permitted anything to 
have stopped him. Colonel Breckinridge has given a de- 
scription of the commencement of the march, so spirited and 
graphic, that it will serve my purpose better than any that I 
can write myself. He says : 

"The regiments had been carefully inspected by the surgeons and 
inspectors, and every sick soldier and disabled horse had been taken 
from their regiments, and the strong men and serviceable horses only 
were permitted to accompany the expedition. The men were never in 
higher spirits or more joyous humor; well armed, well mounted, in 
good discipline, with perfect confidence in their commander, and with 
hearts longing for the hills and valleys, the blue-grass and woods of 
dear old Kentucky. They made the air vocal with their cheers and 
laughter and songs and sallies of wit. The division had never operated 
together before since the brigades had first been organized, therefore 
every regiment was filled with the spirit of emulation, and every man 
was determined to make his the crack regiment of Morgan's cavalry. 
It was a magnificent body of men — the pick of the youth of Kentucky. 
No commander ever led a nobler corps — no corps was ever more nobly 
led. It was splendidly officered by gallant, dashing, skillful men in the 
flush of early manhood; for of the seven colonels who commanded 
those seven regiments, five became brigade commanders — the other two 
gave their lives to the cause — Colonel Bennett dying early in January, 
1863, of a disease contracted while in the army, and Colonel Chenault 
being killed on July 4, 1863, gallantly leading his men in a fruitless 
charge upon breastworks at Green river bridge. This December morn- 
ing was a mild, beautiful fall day; clear, cloudless sky; bright sun; 
the camps in cedar evergreens, where the birds chirped and twittered; 
it felt and looked like spring. The reveille sounded before day-break; 
the horses were fed, breakfast gotten. Very early came the orders from 
General Morgan announcing the organization of the brigades, intimating 
the objects of the expedition, and ordering the column to move at 9 
o'clock, Duke in advance. As the order was read to a regiment the 
utmost deathless silence of disciplined soldiers standing at attention 
was broken only by the clear voice of the adjutant reading the precise 
but stirring words of the beloved hero-chieftain; then came the sharp 
word of command dismissing the parade; and the woods trembled 
with the wild hurrahs of the half crazy men, and regiment answered 
regiment, cheer re-echoed cheer, over the wide encampment. Soon came 
Duke, and his staff, and his column — his own old gallant regiment at 
the head — and slowly regiment after regiment filed out of the woods 
into the road, lengthening the long column. 

"After some two hours' march a cheer began in the extreme rear 
and rapidly came forward, increasing in volume and enthusiasm, and 
soon General Morgan dashed by, with his hat in his hand, bowing and 


smiling his thanks for these flattering cheers, followed by a large and 
well mounted staff. Did you ever see Morgan on horseback? If not, 
you missed one of the most impressive figures of the war. Perhaps 
no general in either army surpassed him in the striking proportion and 
grace of his person, and the ease and grace of his horsemanship. Over 
six feet in height, straight as an Indian, exquisitely proportioned, with 
the air and manner of a cultivated and polished gentleman, and the 
bearing of a soldier, always handsomely and tastefully dressed, and 
elegantly mounted, he was the picture of the superb cavalry officer. 
Just now he was in the height of his fame and happiness; married 
only ten days before to an accomplished lady, made brigadier justly but 
very tardily; in command of the finest cavalry division in the Southern 
army; beloved almost to idolatry by his men, and returning their de- 
votion by an extravagant confidence in their valor and prowess ; 
conscious of his own great powers; yet wearing his honors with the 
most admirable modesty, and just starting upon a carefully conceived 
but daring expedition, he was perhaps in the zenith of his fame, and 
though he added many a green leaf to his chaplet, many a bright page 
to his history, yet his future was embittered by the envy, jealousy, 
and hatred that then were not heard." 

Marching all day, the column reached Sand Shoals ford 
on the Cumberland just before dark. The first brigade 
crossed, and encamped for the night on the northern bank 
of the river. The second brigade encamped between the 
Caney fork and the Cumberland. On the next day, moving 
at daylight, a march of some thirty miles was accomplished ; 
it was impossible to march faster than this and keep the ar- 
tillery with the column. On the 24th, the division went into 
camp within five miles of Glasgow. Breckinridge sent Cap- 
tain Jones of Company A, Ninth Kentucky, to ascertain if 
all was clear in Glasgow, and I received instructions to sup- 
port him with two companies under Major Steele, of the 
Third Kentucky, who was given one of the little howitzers. 
Jones reached the town after dark and just as he entered it 
a Michigan battalion came in from the other side. Captain 
Jones encountered this battalion in the center of the town, 
and in the skirmish which ensued was mortally wounded. 
He was an excellent officer and as brave as steel. Poor Will 
Webb was also mortally wounded — only a private soldier, 
but a cultivated and thorough gentleman ; brave, and kindly, 
and genial. A truer heart never beat in a soldier's bosom 
and a nobler soul was never released by a soldier's death. 
First Lieutenant Samuel O. Peyton was severely wounded 


— shot in the arm and in the thigh. He was surrounded by 
foes who pressed him hard, after he was wounded, to cap- 
ture him. He shot one assailant and grappling with an- 
other brought him to the ground and cut his throat with a 
pocket knife. The Federal cavalry retreated from the town 
by the Louisville pike. 

On the next morning — Christmas — the division moved by 
the Louisville pike. Captain Quirk, supported by Lieutenant 
Hays with the advance-guard of the first brigade, fifty 
strong, cleared the road of some Federal cavalry, which 
tried to contest our advance, driving it so rapidly that the 
column had neither time to delay its march or make any for- 
mation for fight. In the course of the day, Quirk charged a 
battalion which was dismounted and formed across the 
road. He went through them at a gallop and as he dashed 
back again, with his head bent low, he caught two balls on 
the top of it which (coming from different directions) traced 
a neat and accurate angle upon his scalp. Although the 
wounds were not serious at all, they would have stunned 
most men ; but a head built in County Kerry with especial 
reference to shillelagh practice scorned to be affected by such 

Breckinridge sent Johnson's regiment during the day 
toward Munfordsville to induce the belief that we were 
going to attack that place. Colonel Johnson executed his 
mission with perfect success. That night we crossed Green 
river. The first brigade, being in advance, had little trouble 
comparatively, although Captain Palmer had to exert energy 
and skill to get his battery promptly across ; but the second 
brigade reaching the bank of the river late at night had great 
difficulty in getting over. The division encamped in the lat- 
ter part of the night at Hammondsville. A day before, just 
upon the bank of the river, the most enormous wagon per- 
haps ever seen in the State of Kentucky was captured. It 
was loaded with an almost fabulous amount and variety of 
Christmas nicknacks, some enterprising sutler had pre- 
pared it for the Glasgow market, intending to make his for- 
tune. It was emptied at an early date, in shorter time, and 

236 morgan's cavalry. 

by customers who proposed to themselves a much longer 
credit than he anticipated. There was enough in it to fur- 
nish every mess in the division something to eke out a 
Christmas supper with. 

On the next day the column resumed its march amid the 
steadily pouring rain and moved through mud which threat- 
ened to engulf everything toward the Louisville and Nash- 
ville railroad. Hutchinson was sent, with several com- 
panies of the Second Kentucky and the Third Kentucky, to 
destroy the bridge at Bacon creek. There were not more 
than one hundred men, at the most, in the stockade which 
protected the bridge and he was expected to reduce the 
stockade with two pieces of artillery which he carried with 
him, but there was a large force at Munfordsville, only eight 
miles from Bacon creek, and General Morgan gave him 
troops enough to repulse any movement of the enemy from 
Munfordsville to save the bridge. A battalion of cavalry 
came out from Munfordsville, but was driven back by Com- 
panies B and D of the Second Kentucky, under Captain 
Castleman. Although severely shelled, the garrison held out 
stubbornly, rejecting every demand for their surrender. 
Hutchinson became impatient, which was his only fault as 
an officer, and ordered the bridge to be fired at all hazards ; 
it was within less than a hundred yards of the stockade and 
commanded by the rifles of the garrison. It was set on fire 
but the rain would extinguish it unless constantly supplied 
with fuel. Several were wounded in the attempt to replenish 
the fuel and Captain Wolfe of the Third Kentucky, who 
boldly mounted the bridge, was shot in the head and lay un- 
conscious for two hours, every one thinking him dead, until 
the beating rain reviving him, he returned to duty suffering 
no further inconvenience. Some of the men got behind the 
abutment of the bridge and thrust lighted pieces of wood 
upon it, which the men in the stockade frequently shot away. 
At length General Morgan arrived upon the ground and 
sent a message to the garrison in his own name, offering 
them liberal terms if they would surrender. As soon as they 
were satisfied that it was indeed Morgan who confronted 


them they surrendered. This was a very obstinate defense. 
A number of shells burst within the stockade. Some shots 
penetrated the walls and an old barn, which had been fool- 
ishly included within the work, was knocked to pieces, the 
falling timbers stunning some of the inmates. 

The stockade at Nolin surrendered to me without a fight. 
The commandant agreed to surrender if I would show him 
a certain number of pieces of artillery. They were shown 
him; but when I pressed him to comply with his part of the 
bargain he hesitated, and said he would return and consult 
his officers. I think that (as two of the pieces shown him 
were the little howitzers, which I happened to have tempo- 
rarily ) he thought he could hold out for a while and gild his 
surrender with a fight. He was permitted to return but not 
until, in his presence, the artillery was planted close to the 
work and the riflemen posted to command, as well as 
possible, the loop-holes. He came to us again in a few 
minutes with a surrender. The Nolin bridge was at once 
destroyed and also several culverts and cow-gaps within 
three or four miles of that point. 

The division encamped that night within six miles of 
EHzabethtown. On the morning of the 27th it moved 
upon that place. It was held by about six hundred 
men under a L,ieutenant-Colonel Smith. As. we neared the 
town, a note was brought to General Morgan from Colonel 
Smith, who stated that he accurately knew his (Morgan's) 
strength; had him surrounded and could compel his sur- 
render; and that he (Smith) trusted that a prompt capitu- 
lation would spare him the disagreeable necessity of using 
force. The missive containing this proposal — the most sub- 
limely audacious I ever knew to emanate from a Federal 
officer — was brought by a Dutch corporal, who spoke very 
uncertain English but was positive on the point of surrender. 
General Morgan admired the spirit which dictated this bold 
effort at bluffing, but returned for answer an assurance that 
he knew exactly the strength of the Federal force in the 
town and that Lieutenant-Colonel Smith was in error in sup- 
posing that he (Smith) had him (Morgan) surrounded; 


that, on the contrary, he had the honor to state that the 
position of the respective forces was exactly the reverse. 
He concluded by demanding Smith's surrender. Colonel 
Smith replied that it was "the business of a United States 
officer to fight and not to surrender." During the parley 
the troops had been placed in position. Breckinridge was 
given the left of the road and the first brigade the right. I 
dismounted Cluke's regiment and moved it upon the town 
with its left flank keeping close to the road. I threw several 
companies, mounted, to the extreme right of my line and the 
rear of the town. Breckinridge deployed his own regiment, 
under Lieutenant-Colonel Stoner, immediately on the left 
of the road, stretching mounted companies also to his left 
around the town. 

The bulk of both brigades was held in reserve. The 
Parrott gun was placed in the pike ; it was opened as soon as 
the last message from Colonel Smith was received ; and, as 
suddenly as if its flash had ignited them, Palmer's four guns 
roared out from the hill on the left of the road about six 
hundred yards from the town, where General Morgan him- 
self was superintending their fire. Cluke moved warily, as 
two or three stockades were just in his front which were 
thought to be occupied. When he entered the town he had 
little fighting to do, and that on the extreme right. Stoner 
dashed in on the left with the Ninth Kentucky, at a swift 
run. He burst into the houses occupied by the enemy at the 
edge of the town, and with slight loss compelled the inmates 
to surrender. The enemy had no artillery and ours was bat- 
tering the bricks about their heads in fine style. Palmer 
(who was a capital officer, — cool and clearheaded) concen- 
trated his fire upon the building where the flag floated and 
the enemy seemed thickest, and moved his six-pounders into 
the very edge of the town. I sent for one of the howitzers, 
and when it came under Lieutenant Corbett it was posted 
upon the railroad embankment crossing the road. Here it 
played like a fire engine upon the headquarters building. 
Breckinridge posted Company A of his regiment to protect 


the howitzer, making the men lie down behind the embank- 

The enemy could not well fire upon the gunners from the 
windows on account of the situation of the piece, but after 
each discharge would rush out into the street and open upon 
them. Then the company lying behind the embankment 
would retaliate in a style which took away their ap- 
petite for the game. It happened, however, that a staff 
officer of General Morgan passed that way, and con- 
ceiving that this company was doing no good, ordered it, 
with more zeal than discretion, to charge. The men instinct- 
ively obeyed. As they ran forward they came within fair 
view of the windows, and a heavy volley was opened upon 
them, fortunately doing little damage. Their officers, know- 
ing that the man who gave the order had no right to do so, 
called them back and they returned in some confusion; the 
enemy seized the moment and flocking out of the houses, 
poured a sweeping fire down the street. The gunners were 
driven away from the howitzer and two or three hit. Lieu- 
tenant Corbett, however, maintained his place, seated on the 
carriage while the bullets were actually hopping from the 
reinforce of the piece. He soon called his men back and 
resumed his fire. 

Shortly after this there seemed to be a commotion among 
the garrison and the white flag was shown from one of the 
houses. Major Llewellyn, division quartermaster, imme- 
diately galloped into the town, reckless of the firing, waving 
a white handkerchief. Colonel Smith was not ready to sur- 
render but his men did not wait on him and poured out of 
the houses and threw down their arms. Among the fruits 
of this victory were six hundred fine rifles, more than enough 
to arm all of our men who were without guns. The entire 
garrison was captured. Some valuable stores were also 

On the next day, the 28th, the command moved leisurely 
along the railroad, destroying it thoroughly. The principal 
objects of the expedition were the great trestle works at 
Muldraugh's hill, only a short distance apart. The second 


brigade captured the garrison defending the lower trestle. 
six hundred strong ; the first brigade captured the garrison 
of the upper trestle, two hundred strong. Both of the im- 
mense structures were destroyed and hours were required to 
thoroughly burn them. These trestles were, respectively, 
eighty or ninety feet high and each five hundred feet long. 

Cane Run bridge, within twenty-eight miles of Louisville, 
was destroyed by a scouting party. Two bridges on the 
Lebanon branch, recently reconstructed, were also burned. 
Altogether, General Morgan destroyed on this expedition 
two thousand two hundred and fifty feet of bridging, three 
depots, three water stations, a number of culverts and cattle- 
guards and many miles of track. With the destruction of 
the great trestles at Muldraugh's hill his contract with the 
road expired and he prepared to return. He would have 
liked to have paid the region about Lexington another visit, 
but General Bragg had urged him not to delay his return. 
Harlan was moving after us; but for the delay consequent 
upon the destruction of the road he would never have gotten 
near us and, but for an accident, he would never have caught 
up with any portion of the column after we had quitted work 
on the railroad. 

On the night of the 28th the division had encamped on the 
southern bank of the Rolling fork. On the morning of the 
20th it commenced crossing that stream, which was much 
swollen. The greater part of the command and the artillery 
were crossed at a ford a mile or two above the point at which 
the road from Elizabethtown to Bardstown, along which we 
had been encamped, crosses the Rolling fork. The pickets, 
rear guard, and some detachments, left in the rear for va- 
rious purposes, in all about three hundred men, were col- 
lected to cross at two fords — -deep and difficult to approach. 
Cluke's regiment, with two pieces of artillery, had been sent 
under Major Bullock to burn the railroad bridge over the 
Rolling fork, five miles below the point where we were. A 
court-martial had been in session for several days trying 
Lieutenant-Colonel Huffman for alleged violations of the 


terms granted by General Morgan to the prisoners at the 
surrender of the Bacon creek stockade. 

Both brigade commanders and three regimental command- 
ers, Cluke, Hutchinson, and Stoner, were members of this 
court. Just after the court had finally adjourned, acquitting 
Colonel Huffman, and we were leaving a brick house on the 
southern side of the river and about six hundred yards from 
its bank, where our last session had been held, the bursting 
of a shell a mile or two in the rear caught our ears. A few 
videttes had been left there until everything should have 
gotten fairly across. Some of them were captured; others 
brought the information that the enemy was approaching. 
This was about n A. M. We knew that a force of infantry 
and cavalry was following Us but we did not know that it 
was so near. It was at once decided to throw into line the 
men who had not yet crossed and hold the fords, if possible, 
until Cluke's regiment could be brought back. If we crossed 
the river leaving that regiment on the southern side and it 
did not succeed in crossing, or if it crossed immediately and 
yet the enemy pressed on vigorously after us, beating it to 
Bardstown — in either event it would be cut off from us, and 
its capture would be probable. No one knew whether there 
was a ford lower down at which it could cross, and all feared 
that if we retreated promptly the enemy would closely fol- 
low. I therefore sent a message to General Morgan, inform- 
ing him of what was decided upon, and also sent a courier 
to Major Bullock, directing him to return with the regiment 
as soon as possible. 

The ground on which we were posted was favorable to 
the kind of game we were going to play. Upon each 
flank were thick woods extending for more than a mile 
back from the river. Between these woods was a large 
meadow, some three hundred yards wide and stretching 
from the river bank for six or eight hundred yards to a 
woods again in the back ground, and which almost united 
the other two. In this meadow and some two hundred 
yards from the river was a singular and sudden depres- 
sion like a terrace, running straight across it. Behind 


this the men who were posted in the meadow were as 
well protected as if they had been behind an earthwork. 
On the left the ground was so rugged as well as so 
wooded that the position there was almost impregnable. 
There was, however, no adequate protection for the 
horses afforded at any point of the line except the ex- 
treme left. The Federal force approaching was greatly 
superior in strength, and composed of both infantry and 
cavalry, with several pieces of artillery. If it had pressed 
us vigorously we would have been driven into the river, 
but fortunately it advanced very cautiously. 

We were not idle during this advance, but the skirmish- 
ers were keeping busy in the edges of the woods on our 
flanks and the men in the meadow were showing them- 
selves with the most careful regard to inducing an exag- 
gerated idea of their numbers. When the enemy 
reached the edge of the woods which fringed the southern 
extremity of the meadow and had pressed our skirmish- 
ers out of it and away from the brick house and its out- 
buildings, the artillery was brought up and four or five 
guns were opened upon us. Just after this fire com- 
menced, the six-pounders sent with Bullock galloped 
upon the ground, and a defiant yell a short distance to the 
right told that Cluke's regiment, "The war-dogs," were 
near at hand. I was disinclined to use the six-pounders 
after they came, because I knew that they could not ef- 
fectively answer the fire of the enemy's Parrotts, and I 
wished to avoid every thing which might warm the affair 
into a hot fight, feeling pretty certain that when that oc- 
curred we would all, guns and men, "go up" together. 
Major Austin, Captain Logan and Captain Pendleton, 
commanding respectively detachments from the Ninth, 
Third, and Eighth Kentucky, had conducted the opera- 
tions of our line up to this time with admirable coolness 
and method. 

The guns were sent across the meadow rapidly, pur- 
posely attracting the attention of the enemy as much as 
possible, to the upper ford. A road was cut through the 

morgan's cavalry. 243 

rough ground for them and they were crossed with all 
possible expedition. Cluke threw five companies of his 
regiment into line , the rest were sent over the river. I 
now Avished to cross with the entire force, the purpose 
for which the stand had been made having been accom- 
plished, but this was likely to prove a hazardous under- 
taking with an enemy so greatly outnumbering us lying 
just in our front. A courier arrived just about this time 
from General Morgan with an order to me to withdraw - 
In common with quite a number of others, I devoutly 
wished I could. The enemy's guns — the best served of 
any, I think, that I ever saw in action — were playing 
havoc with the horses (four were killed by one shell), and 
actually bursting shells in the lower ford with such fre- 
quency as to render the crossing at it by a column out of 
the question. 

Our line was strengthened by Cluke's five companies to 
nearly eight hundred men, but when the enemy moved 
upon us again, his infantry deployed in a long line with a 
skirmish line in front, all coming on with bayonets glis- 
tening, the guns redoubling their fire and the cavalry 
column on the right flank (of their line) apparently ready 
to pounce on us too, and the river surging at our backs, 
my blood, I confess, ran cold. 

The final moment seemed at hand when that gallant 
rear guard must give way and be driven into the stream 
or be bayoneted on its banks. But not one fear or doubt 
seemed to trouble for a moment our splendid fellows. 
They welcomed the coming attack with a glad and defiant 
cheer and could scarcely be restrained from rushing to 
meet it. But we were saved by the action of the enemy. 

The advancing line was withdrawn (unaccountably to 
us) as soon as it had come under our fire. It was at once 
decided that a show of attack, upon our part, should be 
made on the center, and I ordered Captain Virgil Pendleton 
to charge upon our left with three companies, and silence 
a battery which was annoying us very greatly; under 
cover of these demonstrations I had determined to with- 


draw. Just after this arrangement was made, I was 
wounded in the head by the explosion of a shell which 
burst in a group of us true to its aim. The horse of my 
acting aid-de-camp, Lieutenant Moreland, was killed by a 
fragment of it. Colonel Breckinridge at once assumed 
command and energetically and skillfully effected the safe 
withdrawal of the entire force. Pendleton accomplished 
by his charge all that was expected. He killed several 
cannoneers and drove all from the guns, silencing them 
for a quarter of an hour. He, himself, was badly 
wounded by the fragment of a shell. 

Aided by this diversion and the one made upon the 
front, every thing was suddenly thrown into columns and 
dashed across the river. The troops were gotten across 
the more readily because of the discovery of a third ford 
in the rear of Cluke's position. It was accidentally found 
at the last moment. The enemy did not attempt pursuit. 
No eulogium could do justice to the conduct of the men 
engaged in this affair; nothing but their perfect steadi- 
ness would have enabled any skill to have extricated them 
from the danger. Captains Pendleton, Logan, Page and 
Hines, and Major Austin, deserved the warmest praise. 
Cluke acted, as he did always where courage and soldierly 
conduct were required, in a manner that added to his 
reputation. Breckinridge's skill and vigor, however, were 
the chief themes of praise. 

On that night the division encamped at Bardstown. 
Colonel Chenault, on the same day, destroyed the stock- 
ade at Boston and marched on after the division at Bards- 

Leaving that place on the 30th, the column reached 
Springfield at 3 P M. "Adam Johnson had been ordered 
to move rapidly in advance and attack the pickets in front 
of Lebanon ; which he had executed with such vigor as 
to make Colonel Hoskins believe he intended to attack 
him, and the latter called in a regiment of cavalry sta- 
tioned near New Market, thereby opening the way for 
us to get out without a fight." 


At Springfield General Morgan learned that his situa- 
tion was hazardous and one that would elicit all of his 
powers of strategy and audacity. The enemy had with- 
drawn troops from the southern part of the State and 
had concentrated them at Lebanon, only eight miles dis- 
tant from his then position and right in his path. This 
force was nearly eight thousand strong and well supplied 
with artillery. He had also received intelligence that a 
large force was marching from Glasgow to intercept him 
at Columbia, should he succeed in evading the force at 
Lebanon. Harlan was not so far in his rear that he 
could afford to dally. "In this emergency," he said, "I 
determined to make a detour to the right of Lebanon and 
by a night march conceal my movements from the enemy, 
outstrip the column moving from Glasgow to Columbia, 
and cross the Cumberland before it came within striking 
distance." Shortly before midnight, therefore, on the 
night of the 30th the column moved from Springfield, 
turning off from the pike to a little rarely traveled by- 
road, which passes between Lebanon and St. Mary's. 
Numerous fires were built in front of Lebanon and kept 
up all night to induce the belief that the division was en- 
camped there and would attack in the morning. The 
night was intensely dark and bitterly cold, the guides 
were inefficient, and the column floundered along blindly; 
the men worn out and half frozen, the horses stumbling 
at every step , nothing preserved organization and car- 
ried the column along but the will of its commander and 
the unerring sagacity which guided him. It is common 
to hear men who served in Morgan's cavalry through all 
its career of trial and hardship refer to the night march 
around Lebanon as the most trying event of their entire 

Morning found the column only eight miles from 
Springfield, and two and a half from Lebanon. At that 
place, however, the garrison was drawn up, confidently 
expecting attack from another direction. By 1 P M. of 
the 31st the column reached the top of Muldraugh's hill 

246 morgan's cavalry. 

on the Lebanon and Columbia road, and soon after night- 
fall was in Campbellsville. 

Just after the column had crossed the hill a hand-to- 
hand fight occurred between Captain Alexander Treble 
and Lieutenant George Eastin, on the one side, and Col- 
onel Halisey of the Federal cavalry and one of the latter's 
lieutenants, on the other. Treble and Eastin had, for 
some purpose, fallen behind the rear guard and were 
chased by Halisey's regiment, which was following us to 
pick up stragglers. Being both well mounted, they 
easily kept ahead of their pursuers, until, looking back as 
they cantered down a long straight stretch in the road, 
they saw within three hundred yards of them four men 
who were far in advance of the rest of the pursuers. 

Treble and Eastin were both high-strung men and did 
not like to run from that number of enemies. So when 
they reached a point in the road where it suddenly 
turned, they halted a few yards from the turn. They ex- 
pected to shoot two of the enemy as soon as they came 
in sight and thought that they would have little 
trouble with the others. But it so happened that only 
two, Halisey and his lieutenant, made their appearance; 
the other two, for some reason, halted; and what was 
stranger, Treble and Eastin, although both practiced 
shots, missed their men. Their antagonists dashed at 
them and several shots were fired without effect. The 
combatants soon grappled, man to man, and fell from 
their horses. Treble forced the head of his man into a 
pool of water just by the side of the road and, having half 
drowned him, accepted his surrender. Eastin mastered 
Halisey and, bade him surrender. Halisey did so, but, 
still retaining his pistol, as Eastin let him arise, fired, 
grazing the latter's cheek, who immediately killed him. 
Eastin brought off his saber, which he kept as a trophy. 

In Campbellsville, luckily, there was a large supply of 
commissary stores which were immediately issued to the 
division. Leaving early on the next morning, the 1st of 
January, 1863, the column reached Columbia at 3 P M. 


All that day the roaring of artillery was distinctly heard 
by many men in the column. There was no cannonading 
going on — at least, in the volume which they declared 
that they heard — except at Murfreesboro, far distant, 
where the battle between the armies of Bragg and Rose- 
crans was raging ; but it seems incredible that even heavy 
guns could have been heard at that distance. 

Just before night fall the column moved from Colum- 
bia and marched all night — a dark, bitter night and a ter- 
rible march — to Burkesville. The Cumberland was 
crossed on the 2d and the danger was over. The divis- 
ion then moved leisurely along through Livingston, 
crossing Caney Fork at Sligo ferry and reached Smith- 
ville on the 5th. Here it halted for several days to rest 
and recruit men and horses, both terribly used up by the 

The results of this expedition were the destruction of 
the railroads which has been described, the capture of 
eighteen hundred and seventy-seven prisoners, and of a 
large number of stores, arms, and government property 
of every description. Our loss was only twenty-six in 
killed and wounded and sixty-four missing. 

During our absence the sanguinary battle of Murfrees- 
boro was fought, ending in the withdrawal of Bragg to 
Tullahoma, much, it is claimed, to the surprise of his 
adversary. General Bragg had sent officers to Morgan 
(who never reached him until it was too late) with instruc- 
tions to hasten back and attack the enemy in the 
rear. It was unfortunate that these orders were not re- 
ceived. To do General Bragg justice, he managed bet- 
ter than almost any commander of the Confederate armies 
to usefully employ his cavalry both in campaigns and bat- 
tles. In the battle of Murfreesboro he made excellent 
use of the cavalry on the field. Wharton and Buford, 
under command of Wheeler, three times made the circuit 
of the Federal army and were splendidly efficient; at one 
time during the battle Wheeler was master of every thing 
between the immediate rear of Rosecrans and Nashville. 

248 morgan's cavalry. 

Perhaps Morgan's raid was delayed a little too long, as 
was that of Forrest into western Tennessee (undertaken 
about the same time, and in prisoners, captures of all sorts 
and interruption Of the enemy's communications, as suc- 
cessful as Morgan's) ; but these expeditions drew off and 
kept employed a large number of troops whose presence 
in the great battle would have vastly aided Rosecrans. 

The Confederate Congress thought this expedition 
worthy of recognition and compliment, and passed a joint 
resolution of thanks, as follows : 

"Resolved by the Congress of the Confederate States of America: 
That the thanks of Congress are due, and are hereby tendered to Gen. 
John H. Morgan, and the officers and men of his command, for their 
varied, heroic, and invaluable services in Tennessee and Kentucky im- 
mediately preceding the battle before Murfreesboro — services which 
have conferred upon their authors fame as enduring as the records of 
the struggle which they have so brilliantly illustrated. 

"Approved May 17, 1863." 

After the battle of Murfreesboro and the retreat of the 
army to Tullahoma, at which place General Bragg's head- 
quarters were established, the infantry went into winter 
quarters, and General Bragg protected the front and 
flanks of his army with the two fine cavalry corps of Van 
Dorn and Wheeler. The former was assigned to the left, 
making headquarters at Columbia and guarding the lines 
far to the west, while Wheeler had the right. This latter 
corps was composed of the divisions of Morgan, Whar- 
ton, and Martin. 

Although the main armies were idle for months after 
this disposition was made, the cavalry was never so. 
The reputation of General Wheeler, although deservedly 
high, hardly entitled him to command some of the men 
who were ordered to report to him. He became subse- 
quently a much abler because a more experienced com- 
mander than he was at the time of his preferment, but he 
always exhibited very high qualities. He was vigilant 
and energetic, thoroughly instructed in the duties of his 
profession, and perfectly conversant with the elaborate 
details of organization and military business. While he 


did not display the originality and the instinctive strate- 
gical sagacity which characterized Morgan and Forrest, 
he was skillfull and better fitted than either for the duties 
which devolve upon the commander of large bodies of 
cavalry permanently attached to the army and required to 
conform, in all respects, to its movements and necessities. 
General Wheeler possessed in an eminent degree all of 
the attributes of the gentleman. He was brave as a Pala- 
din, just, high-toned and exceedingly courteous. He was 
full of fire and enterprise, and battle seemed his natural 
element. He labored under great disadvantage at first 
on account of the violent and unjust prejudice excited 
against him by General Bragg's preference and his rapid 
promotion. General Morgan said to him, when first or- 
dred to report to him, that he (Morgan) had wished to be 
left free, acting independently of all orders except from 
the commander-in-chief, but that since he was to be 
subordinate to a corps commander he would prefer him 
to any other. General Morgan always entertained this 
opinion, and I have reason to believe that General 
Wheeler reluctantly assumed command. 

The history of the division for the winter of 1863 
properly commences at the date of the return from the 
raid into Kentucky, described in the last chapter. It 
reached Smithville upon the 4th of January and remained 
in the vicinity of that little town and at Sligo ferry until 
the 14th. Upon the 14th, it was marched to McMinn- 
ville and encamped around that place, where General 
Morgan's headquarters were then established. The 
first brigade lay between McMinnville and Woodbury, 
at which latter point Lieutenant-Colonel Hutchinson 
was stationed with the Second Kentucky. The weather 
was intensely cold and all of the men, who were 
unprovided with the means of adequately sheltering them- 
selves, suffered severely. Their ingenuity was taxed to 
the utmost to supply the lack of cooking utensils, and it 
frequently happened that they had very little to cook. 
Fortunately a great many blankets had been obtained 


upon the last raid and almost every man had gotten a 
gum cloth. These latter were stretched over the rail 
shanties which each mess would put up; and thus cov- 
ered the sloping, shed-like structures (built of fence rails) 
made very tolerable substitutes for tents, and, with the 
help of the rousing fires which were built in front of them, 
were by no means uncomfortable. Very little system 
was observed in the "laying out" of the encampment — 
men and horses were all huddled together, for the men 
did not fancy any arrangement which separated them by 
the slightest distance from their horses, and the latter 
were always tied close to the lairs of their masters. Not- 
withstanding the lack of method and the apparently inex- 
tricable confusion of these camps, their inmates could be 
gotten under arms and formed in line of battle with a 
celerity that would have appeared marvelous to the un- 

Colonel Chenault was ordered, in the latter part of Jan- 
uary, to Clinton county, Kentucky, to picket against a 
dash of the enemy from that direction. On the 23d of 
January Colonel Breckinridge was ordered to move to 
Liberty, eleven miles from Smithville and about thirty 
from McMinnville, with three regiments — the Third Ken- 
tucky, under Lieutenant-Colonel Huffman, the Ninth 
Kentucky, under Lieutenant-Colonel Stoner, and the 
Ninth Tennessee, under Colonel Ward, who had risen to 
command of it after Colonel Bennett's death. Colonel 
Adam R. Johnson was already in the vicinity of that 
place with his regiment, the Tenth Kentucky. Captain 
Quirk preceded these regiments with his company, and 
shortly after his arrival at Liberty and before he could 
be supported was driven away by the enemy. The three 
regiments, under Colonel Breckinridge, occupied the 
country immediately in front of Liberty, picketing all of 
the roads thoroughly. 

The enemy were in the habit of sending out strong for- 
aging parties from Readyville toward Woodbury, and 
frequent skirmishes occurred between them and Hutch- 

morgan's cavalry. 251 

inson's scouts. Upon one occasion, Hutchinson, with 
less than one hundred men, attacked one of these parties, 
defeated it with smart loss and taking nearly two hundred 
prisoners and forty or fifty wagons. For this he was com- 
plimented in general orders from army headquarters. 
This affair occurred a short time previously to the occu- 
pation of Liberty by the force under Colonel Breckin- 
ridge, and a much brisker condition of affairs began to 
prevail all along the line. 

Rosecrans was determined to make his superior num- 
bers tell, at least in the immediate vicinity of his army. 
He inaugurated a system about this time which resulted 
in the decided improvement of his cavalry. He would 
send out a body of cavalry stronger than any thing it was 
likely to encounter, and that it might never be demoral- 
ized by a complete whipping, he would back it by an in- 
fantry force never far in the rear, and always ready to 
finish the fight which the cavalry began. This method 
benefited the latter greatly. 

On the 24th the Second Kentucky was attacked at 
Woodbury by a heavy force of the enemy, and a gallant 
fight ensued, ending by an unhappy loss for us in the 
death of Lieutenant-Colonel Hutchinson. 

From various causes the regiment had become much 
depleted, and on this day it was reduced (by the sending 
off of detachments for necessary duties), to less than four 
hundred men. The enemy advanced, in much superior 
force, principally infantry, but Hutchinson determined 
not to give up his position without a hard fight. He 
posted his men advantageously upon the brow of a hill 
in front of the village, sheltering a portion of his line be- 
hind a stone wall. The enemy preceded his attack with 
a smart fire of artillery, to which Hutchinson could make 
no reply but was forced to take it patiently. But when 
the infantry moved up and came within range of our 
riflemen, the tables were for a little while completely 
turned, and they fell fast under a fire that rarely failed to 
do deadly execution. The unequal contest lasted more 


than an hour; during that time the stone wall was carried 
by the enemy but was retaken by Captain Treble and 
Lieutenant Lea, charging at the head of their gallant 
companies. Much as he needed the men, Hutchinson 
kept one of the companies idle and out of the fight, but, 
nevertheless, producing an effect upon the enemy. He 
caused Captain Cooper to show the head of his company, 
just upon the brow of the hill, so that the enemy could see 
it but could not judge correctly of its strength and might 
possibly think it a strong reserve. 

Constantly exposed to the fire of artillery and small 
arms throughout the fight, this company never flinched 
nor moved from its position until it was ordered to cover 
the retreat. Then it filed to the left, as if moving to take 
the enemy in flank, and when the column had passed 
wheeled into the rear under cover of the hill. Colonel 
Hutchinson at length yielded to the conviction that he 
could not hold his ground against such odds. The ar- 
rival of a fresh company enabled him to retreat with 
greater security, and he ordered the line to retire. A 
portion of it was pressed hard as it did so and he rode to 
the point of danger to encourage the men by his presence. 
He had exposed himself during the action with even more 
than his usual recklessness but with impunity. Just as 
all seemed over, however, and he was laughing gleefully 
at his successful withdrawal, a ball struck him upon the 
temple and he fell dead from his horse. Lieutenant 
Charles Allen, the gallant acting adjutant of the regiment, 
and Charles Haddox (his orderly) threw his body upon 
his horse and carried it off under the hot fire. 

Captain Castleman at once assumed command and suc- 
cessfully conducted the retreat, although fiercely pressed 
by the enemy. The supply of ammunition entirely gave 
out just after the retreat was commenced. 

Lieutenant-Colonel Hutchinson was, beyond all com- 
parison, the best field officer in Morgan ; s division and in- 
deed that I ever saw. Had he lived and been placed in 
situations favorable to the development of his talent, he 


would, I firmly believe, have become competent to any 
command. He had more natural military aptitude, was 
more instinctively the soldier, than any man I have ever 
known. General Morgan felt a warm and manly admira- 
tion for him and reposed an implicit confidence in his 
character and ability. His brother officers loved to en- 
hance his reputation, his men idolized him. Hutchinson 
had the frank, generous temper and straight forward 
although shrewd, disposition which wins popularity with 
soldiers. While watchful and strict in his discipline, he 
was kind to his men, careful of their wants, and invariably 
shared their fare, whatever it might be. When killed he 
was barely twenty-four but the effects of exposure and 
the thoughtful expression of his eye made him appear 
several years older. His great size and erect, soldierly 
bearing made him a conspicuous figure at all times, and 
in battle he was superb. Taller than all around him, his 
form of immense muscular power dilated with stern ex- 
citement — always in the van — he looked, as he sat upon 
his large gray charger, like some champion of the age of 
chivalry. There was something in his look which told 
his daring nature. His aquiline features, dark glittering 
eye, close cropped black hair and head like a hawk's, 
erect and alert, indicated intense energy and invincible 

Major Bowles became lieutenant-colonel of the regi- 
ment by seniority and Captain Webber succeeded him as 

On the 14th of February, Colonel Cluke was sent into 
eastern and central Kentucky for purposes which will be 
explained in the account which will be given of his oper- 
ations. He took with him his own regiment, two com- 
panies under Major Steele, Company A of the Second, 
and Companies C and I of the Third Kentucky, and about 
seventy men of the Ninth Kentucky under Lieutenant- 
Colonel Stoner. 

These detachments weakened the effective strength of 
the command at a time when it was engaged in service 


which tasked its energies to the utmost. That portion of 
"the front" which General Morgan was expected to pro- 
tect may be described as extending from Woodbury in 
Tennessee to Wayne county in Kentucky, in an irregular 
curved line more than one hundred and twenty miles in 
length. It was exceedingly important that this entire line 
should be well picketed and closely watched, but it was 
necessary to give especial attention to that section of it 
in Tennessee (which was immediately confronted by for- 
midable numbers of the enemy) and here, consequently, 
the greater part of the division was employed. 

While it was necessary to keep strict ward at Wood- 
bury, upon the left flank of this line, and a force adequate 
to the thorough picketing and scouting of that region was 
always kept there, the chief interest centered at Liberty, 
for here the efforts of the enemy to break the line and 
drive back the forces guarding it were most frequently 
and energetically directed. This little hamlet is situated 
twenty-nine miles from Murfreesboro by the turnpike, 
and almost due northeast of it. A line drawn from Car- 
thage to Woodbury would pass through Liberty, and the 
latter is distant some eighteen miles from each. Car- 
thage is a little east of north, Woodbury a little west of 
south, from Liberty. About twenty-one or two miles 
from Liberty and west of south, is Readyville, where was 
stationed at the time of which I write a strong Federal 
force. Readyville is ten miles from Murfreesboro and 
about the same distance northwest of Woodbury. Leb- 
anon, twenty-six miles from Liberty by turnpike which 
runs through Alexandria and northwest of it, was at this 
time permanently occupied by neither side but both Fed- 
eral and Confederate troops occasionally held it. Car- 
thage, far upon the flank and virtually in the rear of the 
forces at Liberty, was occupied by a Federal garrison 
which varied in strength as the plans of the Federal gen- 
erals required. It could be reinforced and supplied from 
Nashville by the river, upon which it is situated, and it 
was well fortified. 

morgan's cavalry. 255 

A direct advance upon Liberty from Murfreesboro 
promised nothing to the attacking party but a fight in 
which superior numbers might enable it to dislodge the 
Confederates and force them to retreat to Smithville; 
thence, if pressed, to McMinnville or Sparta. If such a 
movement were seconded by a co-operative one from 
Carthage the effect would be only to hasten the retreat; 
for the country between Carthage and Smithville is too 
rugged for troops to traverse with ease and dispatch 
and they would necessarily have to march directly to Lib- 
erty, or to a point but a very short distance to the east of 
it. It may be stated generally that the result would be 
the same were an advance made upon Liberty by any or 
all of the routes coming in upon the front, and the enemy 
at Carthage was dangerous only when the Confederates 
exposed their rear by an imprudent advance. A rapid 
march through Woodbury upon McMinnville might 
bring the enemy at any time entirely between Liberty and 
the army at Tullahoma, or if he turned and marched 
through Mechanicsville dash and celerity might enable 
him to cut off the force at Liberty entirely. 

When it is remembered that about the only point of 
importance outside of Murfreesboro and Nashville and 
short of the line I have described (with the exception of 
Lebanon) whether north or south of the river, was oc- 
cupied by a Federal garrison large enough to undertake 
the offensive, and that the country was traced in every 
direction by innumerable practicable roads, it will be 
clear that sleepless vigilance and the soundest judgment 
were necessary to the protection of the Confederate 
forces stationed in this region. The three regiments en- 
camped in the vicinity of Liberty numbered about one 
thousand effectives, and the other regiments under Col- 
onel Gano, including all which were not detached in Ken- 
tucky under Colonels Cluke and Chenault, were posted 
in the neighborhood of Woodbury and McMinnville, and 
were about the same aggregate strength. 

During the latter part of January and in February and 

256 morgan's cavalry. 

March, the entire command was kept constantly and 
busily employed. Scouts and expeditions of all kinds, 
dashes at the enemy and fights between reconnoitering 
parties were of almost daily occurrence, and when Colo- 
nels Gano and Breckinridge were not harassing the enemy 
they were recipients of like attention from him. Per- 
haps no period in the history of Morgan's cavalry of 
equal duration can be cited in which more exciting and 
arduous service was performed. It has been said, in 
allusion to this period and the action then of Morgan's 
command, "If all the events of that winter could be told, 
it would form a book of daring personal adventures, of 
patient endurance, of great and continued hardship, and 
heroic resistance against fearful odds." The narration 
of these scenes in the simple language of the men who 
were actors in them, the description by the private sol- 
diers of what they dared then and endured would be the 
best record. They could tell how, worn out with days 
and night of toil, the brief repose was at length welcomed 
with so much joy. Frequently the rain and sleet would 
beat in their faces as they slept and the ice would thicken 
in their very beds. Happy were the men who had 
blankets in which to wrap their limbs other than those 
which protected their horses' backs from the saddle. 
Thrice lucky those who could find something to eat when 
they lay down and another meal when they arose. It 
oftenest happened that before the chill, bleak winter's 
day had broken, the bugle aroused them from comfort- 
less bivouacs to mount, half frozen and shivering, upon 
their stiff and tired horses and, faint and hungry, ride 
miles to attack a foe or contest against ten-fold odds every 
foot of his advance. 

Some of the personal adventures so frequent at that 
time will perhaps be found interesting. An expedition 
undertaken by General Morgan himself, but, unlike most 
of those in which he personally commanded, unsuccessful, 
is thus related : 

morgan's cavalry. 257 

"Upon January 29th, General Morgan, accompanied by Major Steele, 
Captain Cassell and a few men, came to Liberty to execute a dangerous 
plan. It was to take fifty picked men, dressed in blue coats, into Nash- 
ville, burn the commissary stores there, and in the confusion of the 
fire make their escape. He had an order written, purporting to be 
from General Rosecrans, to Captain Johnson, Fifth Kentucky Cavalry, 
U. S. A., to proceed from Murfreesboro to Lebanon, thence to Nash- 
ville, arrest all stragglers, make all discoveries, etc. I can not recollect 
now from what commands the fifty men were selected, but know that 
Steele, Cassell and Quirk went along. The plan was frustrated by an 
accident. As General Morgan rode up to Stewart's ferry over Stone 
river, a captain of a Michigan regiment, with some twenty men, rode 
up to the other side. Morgan immediately advanced a few feet in 
front of his command, touched his hat, and said, "Captain, what is the 
news in Nashville?" 

Federal captain — "Who are you?" 

"Captain Johnson, Fifth Kentucky Cavalry, just from Murfreesboro' 
via Lebanon, going to Nashville by General Rosecrans' order. What 
is your regiment?" 

" Michigan." 

Morgan then asked: "Are you going farther?" 

"No. Have you any news of Morgan ?" 

With perfect self possession Morgan answered : "His cavalry are at 
Liberty— none closer." 

He then said to Quirk: "Sergeant, carry as many men over at a 
load as possible and we will swim the horses. It is too late to attempt 
to ferry them over." 

"The Michigan captain started to move on, when Morgan asked him 
to wait and they would ride to Nashville together. When he consented, 
most of his men got down and tried to warm themselves by walking, 
jumping, etc. Quirk pushed across with about a dozen men, reached 
the bank, and .started the boat back ; unfortunately, as his men climbed 
the bank their gray pants showed, the Michiganders became alarmed 
and Quirk had to attack forthwith. The captain and some fifteen men 
surrendered immediately; the remainder escaped and ran to Nashville, 
giving the alarm. Morgan declared that if he had succeeded in captur- 
ing them all he would have gone immediately into Nashville. Those 
who knew him best will most readily believe it." 

A short time after the fight at Woodbury Lieutenant- 
Colonel Bowles, with the greater part of the Second Ken- 
tucky and supported by a battalion under Lieutenant- 
Colonel Malone (Alabama), engaged a large force of the 
enemy at Bradyville. Attacking the advance guard of 
this force (before he became aware of the strength of the 
main body), Colonel Bowles drove it in confusion and 
rout into the town, and even forced back for some dis- 
tance the regiments sent to its support. 

In reckless, crushing attack, Colonel Bowles had no 

258 morgan's cavalry. 

superior among the officers of the division. His daunt- 
less and rash bravery gave great weight to a charge, but, 
unluckily, he was perfectly indifferent about the strength 
of the enemy whom he charged. On this occasion 
greatly superior forces closed in on both flanks of his 
command and a part of the enemy, driving away Mai one's 
battalion, gained his rear before he could disentangle him- 
self. Quick fighting and fast running alone saved the 
regiment, but it was a "hard party" to capture and it got 
away with a very slight loss in prisoners. Several men 
in the extreme rear were sabered, but, of course, not 
killed. One man of Company K, who had an axe 
strapped on his back, was collared by a Federal captain, 
who struck him on the head with his saber. The "old 
regular" deliberately unstrapped his axe and with one 
fierce blow shivered his assailant's skull. 

Lieutenant-Colonels Huffman and Martin were es- 
pecially enterprising during the early part of February 
in the favorite feat of wagon catching, and each attacked 
with success and profit large foraging parties of the enemy 
They sometimes ran into more difficult situations than 
they had bargained for, and it must be recorded that 
each had, on more than one occasion, to beat a hasty and 
not altogether orderly retreat. But these mishaps, in- 
variably repaired by increased vigor and daring, served 
only to show that officers and men possessed one of the 
rarest of soldierly qualities, the capacity to receive a beat- 
ing and suffer no demoralization from it. 

On one occasion Martin had penetrated with a small 
force into the neighborhood of Murfreesboro and upon 
his return was forced to cut his way through a body of 
the enemy's cavalry. He charged vigorously and a melee 
ensued, in which the combatants were mixed all together. In 
this confused hand-to-hand fight, Captain Jacob Bennett (a 
dashing young officer whose coolness, great strength and 
quickness had made him very successful and celebrated 
in such encounters), was confronted by an opponent who 
leveled a pistol at his head, and at the same time Bennett 

morgan's cavalry. 259 

saw one of the men of his company just about to be shot 
or sabered by another one of the enemy. Bending low 
in his saddle to avoid the shot aimed at himself, Captain 
Bennett first shot the assailant of his follower and then 
killed his own foe. Upon one occasion, Captain Quirk 
in one of his many daring scouts got into a "tight place," 
which is thus briefly narrated by one familiar with the 
affair : 

On the same day, Captains Quirk and Davis (the latter of South 
Carolina) Colonel Breckinridge's aide, started for a sort of fancy trip 
towards Black's shop. Below Auburn they met Federal cavalry and 
charged; the enemy had prepared an ambuscade which Quirk's men 
saw in time to avoid, but not so Quirk, Davis and Tom Murphy, who, 
being splendidly mounted, were ahead. Into it, through it, they went — 
Quirk unhurt, Davis wounded and captured, and Tom Murphy escaping 
with what he described as 'a hell of a jolt,' with the butt of a musket 
in the stomach. Davis some how managed to escape and reached our 
lines in safety but with a severe flesh wound in the thigh. 

Captain Davis became afterward assistant adjutant-gen- 
eral of the first brigade. 

Sometime during February two fine regiments, the 
Fifth and Sixth Kentucky, were added to the division. 
These regiments were commanded, respectively, by Col- 
onels D H. Smith and Warren Grigsby. They had been 
recruited while General Bragg occupied Kentucky for 
Buford's brigade, but upon the dissolution of that organ- 
ization they were assigned at the request of their colonels 
to General Morgan's command. The material compos- 
ing them was of the first order and their officers were 
zealous and efficient. 

Sometime in the same month an order was issued from 
army headquarters regularly brigading Morgan's com- 
mand. The Second, Fifth, Sixth and Ninth Kentucky 
and Ninth Tennessee, were placed in one brigade, the 
first. The Third, Eighth, Eleventh and Tenth Ken- 
tucky, composed the second brigade. Colonels Smith 
and Grigsby were both the seniors of the other colonels 
of the first brigade, but each refused to take command, 
on account of their recent attachment to the command 

2,6o morgan's cavalry. 

and Colonel Breckinridge was assigned to the temporary 
command of it. Colonel Adam Johnson was senior col- 
onel of the division, but was absent during the greater 
part of the winter, and Colonel Gano took command of 
the second brigade. The regiments, however, were so 
disposed and scattered that the brigades were not practi- 
cally organized for some time after the order was issued. 

The history of the Ninth Tennessee Regiment illus- 
trates how much can be done by the efforts of an intelli- 
gent, zealous and firm officer, however discouraging may 
appear the prospect when he undertakes reforms. The 
men of this regiment, recruited principally in Sumner and 
Smith counties of middle Tennessee, were capable, as the 
result showed, of being made excellent soldiers, but their 
training had commenced under the most inauspicious cir- 
cumstances. They were collected together (as has been 
previously related) in August, 1862, in a camp at Harts- 
ville, and their organization was partially effected in the 
neighborhood of a strong enemy while they were entirely 
without arms or any support and protecting force. Sev- 
eral times during this period they were attacked by the 
enemy and scattered in all directions ; the fact that they 
always reassembled promptly demonstrating their excel- 
lent character. 

When General Morgan returned from Kentucky this 
regiment joined him at Gallatin. Its commander, Colo- 
nel Bennett, was deservedly popular for many genial and 
noble qualities. He was high minded, brave, and gen- 
erous, but neglected to enforce discipline and his regi- 
ment was utterly without it. Upon his death, Lieutenant- 
Colonel William W Ward succeeded to the command, 
and a marked change and improvement was at once per- 
ceptible. He instituted a far stricter discipline and en- 
forced it rigidly; he constantly drilled and instructed his 
men and requiring a higher standard of efficiency in the 
officers greatly improved them. At the same time he 
exercised the utmost care and industry in providing for 
all the wants of his regiment. In a very short time the 

morgan's cavalry. 261 

Ninth Tennessee became, in all respects, the equal of any 
regiment in Morgan's division. 

Colonel Ward's first exploit, with his regiment thus re- 
formed, was to attack and completely defeat a foraging 
party, capturing several wagons and seventy-five pris- 
oners. He then performed with great ability a very im- 
portant duty, that of harassing General Crook's command, 
which had been stationed opposite Carthage, on the south 
side of the Cumberland. Colonel Ward, avoiding close 
battle, annoyed and skirmished with this force so con- 
stantly, that it never did any damage, and finally recrossed 
the river. From this time, the Ninth Tennessee did its 
fair share of dashing and successful service. 

Some account should be given of the operations of Col- 
onel Chenault, in Clinton and Wayne counties, Kentucky, 
and of Colonel Cluke, in the interior of the State. I can 
best describe the service of the first named of these com- 
mands by copying, verbatim, from the diary of a gallant 
field officer of the regiment.* He says : 

"The regiment started (January 15th) in a pelting rain for Albany, 
Ky. We marched through mud, rain and snow for five days, swimming 
both Collins and Obie rivers, and reached Albany on the morning of the 
22nd of January, 1863, all much exhausted and many men dismounted. 
We found Albany a deserted village. It was once a flourishing vil- 
lage of five hundred inhabitants, and is the county seat of Clinton 
county. It is now tenantless and deserted. 

January 24th. With one hundred men I went on a scout to Monti- 
cello, distant twenty- five miles from Albany, drove a Yankee company 
commanded by Captain Hare out of Monticello and across the Cum- 
berland river ; captured two prisoners. 

From this date until the 15th of February we scouted and picketed 
the roads in every direction, and had good rations and forage with com- 
fortable quarters, but heavy duty, the whole regiment being on duty 
every two days. "Tinker Dave" annoyed us so much that we had to 
establish a chain picket every night around the entire town. Colonel 
Jacob's Yankee regiment is at Creelsboro, twelve miles distant, and 
Woolford's brigade is at Burkesville, fourteen miles distant. Our little 
regiment is one hundred and twenty miles from support and it is only 
by vigilance and activity that we can save ourselves. An order was 
received yesterday from the War Department forever fixing our destiny 
with Morgan. 

Learning from newspapers that our scouts brought in that Wool- 

*Major, afterwards Lieutenant-Colonel Jas. B. McCreary. 

262 morgan's cavalry. 

ford would make a speech in Burkesville on the 12th day of February, 
I started from Albany with two companies, early that morning, and 
forming my men behind a hill I watched from the bushes near the 
river the assembling of the crowd at the court-house. At 1 o'clock the 
bell rang. A short time before that the guard at the ferry, in four hun- 
dred yards of the court-house, was composed almost entirely of soldiers, 
and after speaking commenced I charged on foot to a school house im- 
mediately on the banks of the river, and from there drove the pickets 
that had dismounted away from their horses and also broke up the 
speaking in tremendous disorder. We killed a number of horses and 
the killed and wounded among the Yankees were seven. The boys 
christened the school house Fort McCreary, but it did not last long, 
for that night after we left, the Yankees crossed the river and burned it. 

February 19th. Colonel Cluke passed within a few miles of us and 
sent an order from General Morgan for two companies. Companies 
D and E, Captains Dickens and Terrill, were sent him. 

March 4th. By order of General Morgan I moved with three com- 
panies from Albany to Monticello to-day ; am camping in the town. 
The citizens are hospitable and polite. Woolford, with a very large 
force, is around Somerset. I am kept very busy picketing and scouting; 
it is General Morgan's object to occupy all the country this side of the 
Cumberland until Cluke's return from Kentucky. 

March 10th. To-day the balance of the regiment under Colonel 
Chenault arrived at Monticello. We have raised one company of new 
recruits since coming to Kentucky. 

March 20th. I crossed the Cumberland river with twenty-six men 
last night in a horse trough, and then marched on foot two miles to 
capture a Yankee picket. The force at the picket base fled but I cap- 
tured two videttes stationed at the river. The trip was very severe. 
I lost one man. 

April 1st. General Pegram's brigade arrived to-day en route for 
Kentucky on a raid. The brain fever has killed seventeen of our 
regiment up to this date, among them Captain Sparr and Lieutenant 

April nth. Pegram captured Somerset and moved on to Danville, 
and thence commenced his retreat; was compelled to fight at Somerset 
and was defeated; Colonel Chenault moved our regiment to the river 
and helped him to cross. His forces were much scattered, and many 
were captured. 

April 18th. Cluke returned to-day from Kentucky; the two com- 
panies that went from this regiment were much injured. What is left 
reported to-day. Captain Terrill and Lieutenant Maupin, both severely 
wounded at the Mount Sterling fight, were left behind. 

April 29th. River being fordable, the enemy crossed in heavy force 
both at Mill Springs and mouth of Greasy creek. Tucker met them on 
Mill Spring road and I met them on Greasy Creek road ; Chenault with 
part of the regiment remained at Monticello. The enemy was in large 
force, and we were compelled to evacuate Monticello at n o'clock to- 
night, and fell back in the direction of Travisville. Finding on the 1st 
day of May that the enemy was not pressing us, we returned to Monti- 
cello and skirmished heavily with him; reinforcements to the enemy 
having arrived, we were compelled to fall back to the Obie River. 

morgan's cavalry. 26 


The "brain fever," to which the writer alluded, was a very 
singular disease. The patient attacked with it suffered with 
a terrible pain in the back of the head and along the spine ; 
the extremities soon became cold and the patient sank into 
torpor It was generally fatal in a few hours. I recollect 
to have heard of no recovery from it. 

As has already been mentioned, Colonel Cluke was dis- 
patched to central Kentucky on the 4th of February. The 
force under his command, in all seven hundred and fifty 
effectives, was his own regiment, the Eighth Kentucky, 
under the immediate command of Major Robert S. Bullock, 
seventy-eight men of the Ninth Kentucky and two companies 
of the Eleventh, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel 
Robert G. Stoner — entitled the First Battalion; and two 
companies, C and I, of the Third Kentucky, and Company 
A, of the Second Kentucky, under command of Major 
Theophilus Steele— styled the Second Battalion. The two 
mountain howitzers ("Bull Pups") were also attached to 
his command, under charge of Lieutenant C. C. Corbett. 
This force was ably officered, every company having excel- 
lent commanders. Colonel Cluke was supplied also with an 
efficient staff, Captains C. C. and C. H. Morgan (of the 
General's own staff) accompanied him. Lieutenant More- 
land (a staff officer of the first brigade) attended him as 

Colonel Cluke had no officer regularly detailed as acting 
assistant adjutant-general. Sergeant Lawrence Dickerson, 
clerk of the adjutant's office of the first brigade, and thor- 
oughly competent, performed all the duties of one. 

The advance guard was commanded by Lieutenant Shuck 
of the Eighth Kentucky, and the scouts were commanded 
by Lieutenant Hopkins of the Second and Lieutenant S. P 
Cunningham of the Eighth. One hundred rounds of ammu- 
nition and six days' rations were issued to the men upon the 
morning that the command marched. The weather was 
inclement and intensely cold, when this expedition was com- 
menced. A march through sleet, rain, and snow and over 
terrible roads, brought Colonel Cluke to the Cumberland 

264 morgan's cavalry. 

river on the evening of the 18th. Lieutenant-Colonel 
Stoner and Lieutenant Hopkins crossed the river with a few 
men, in a canoe, surprised and captured the Federal pickets 
posted to guard the ferry at which Colonel Cluke wished to 
cross, and brought over flatboats and a coal barge by means 
of which the entire command was crossed, the horses being 
made to swim. So bitter was the cold that eight horses 
chilled to death immediately upon emerging from the 

On the 19th the column reached Somerset. A strong force 
of the enemy had been stationed there, but fell back to Dan- 
ville on learning of Colonel Cluke's approach. The greater 
part of the stores collected there fell into Cluke's hands. 
Pressing on, Cluke compelled the surrender of a detachment 
of Federal troops at Mount Vernon and did not halt until 
within fifteen miles of Richmond. Wretched roads and a 
blinding snow storm rendered this march harassing and 
tedious. The scouts moved to within ten miles of Rich- 
mond and Lieutenant Hopkins halting with a portion of 
them, Lieutenant Cunningham went on three miles farther 
with eight men. He found a picket post of the enemy where 
four videttes were stationed. He answered their challenge 
by declaring himself and party friends and, advancing to the 
post, persuaded the Federals that they were an advance party 
of Woolford's regiment, which they represented to be re- 
turning from Tennessee to Kentucky to assist in repelling 
an anticipated raid. Lieutenant Cunningham stated that all 
the various forces in the region were to be immediately con- 
centrated at Lexington, as certain information had been ob- 
tained that General Breckinridge had entered the State at 
the head of ten thousand infantry The sergeant of the post 
then gave Lieutenant Cunningham a statement of the loca- 
tion and strength of all the Federal commands in the vicinity 
and invited him to go a short distance off, where the picket 
detail to which he belonged made base. Cunningham, find- 
ing this detail twenty-four strong, made an excuse to send 
back two of his own men and one of the Federals, calling 

morgan's cavalry. 265 

Hopkins to his aid, who, in an hour or two, arrived with 
the other men of the scouts. 

A skirmish immediately ensued between the parties. One 
Federal was killed and two wounded — the rest were made 
prisoners. They were completely deceived and surprised. 
The whole affair was as clever a piece of strategy as can be 
found in the annals of partisan service. Learning that two 
hundred and fifty of the enemy were at Richmond, Cluke 
broke camp at an early hour and marched rapidly in hopes 
to capture them. They started to Lexington, however, be- 
fore he got to Richmond. The rumor (which had been 
industriously circulated) that Breckinridge had entered the 
State, was accomplishing its work. Major Steele was imme- 
diately dispatched in advance with three companies under 
his command. He overtook the rear guard at Comb's ferry 
and drove it in upon the column — a brisk skirmish and 
chase ensuing — -Steele driving them into Lexington. He 
came very near being killed shortly afterward. Leaving his 
command halted, he rode to a picket post some distance off, 
with one or two men, and essayed to capture the videttes. 
One of them (after signifying that he would surrender) 
suddenly placed his rifle to the major's breast and fired. A 
thick Mexican blanket wrapped tightly in many folds about 
his body saved his life , yet the bullet pierced the blanket and 
entered his breast, breaking a rib. This wound disabled 
him, at a time when his services were most needed, for sev- 
eral days. 

On the same night, Captain C. H. Morgan and Lieutenant 
Corbett, while reconnoitering near Lexington, were cap- 
tured. Colonel Cluke moved on the night of the 22d (cross- 
ing the Kentucky river at Boonesboro ) to Winchester, reach- 
ing that place on the 23d. He then sent detachments in 
various directions to excite and bewilder the enemy as thor- 
oughly as possible — Major Bullock advancing toward Lex- 
ington, Lieutenant-Colonel Stoner was sent to Mount Ster- 
ling and Lieutenant Cunningham was sent toward Paris. 
The most intense excitement prevailed and reports were rife 
and believed that rebels were flocking into the State from all 

266 morgan's cavalry. 

directions. Cluke, finding that he had reduced the enemy to 
inaction, and could do so safely, permitted men who lived in 
the neighboring counties to visit their homes and thus give 
greater currency to these rumors. This had been one of the 
objects of the expedition. The other ends had in view in 
undertaking it, to wit, to obtain and keep a thorough under- 
standing of the condition of affairs in Kentucky during the 
winter, and to enable the men to procure horses and clothing, 
were perfectly accomplished. Lieutenant Cunningham dem- 
onstrated successfully in the direction of Paris, confining 
the troops there to the town. Lieutenant-Colonel Stoner 
moved rapidly on Mount Sterling and found the enemy, 
which had been stationed there under Colonel Wadsworth, 
just evacuating the town. Stoner immediately attacked and 
completely routed his enemy. The road by which the latter 
retreated was strewn for miles with overcoats,guns, wrecked 
wagons and all the debris of routed and fleeing troops. 
Stoner captured many prisoners and several wagons. 

On the 24th, the entire command was concentrated at 
Mount Sterling and the day was spent in collecting and dis- 
tributing horses, equipments, etc. The enemy at Lexington 
having recovered by this time from the fright given them on 
the 21st by Major Steele, and learning the falsity of the 
rumors of a heavy Confederate advance, now came out in 
search of Cluke. On the morning of the 25th a brigade 
dashed into Mount Sterling. The command was much 
weakened not only by the detachments which had again been 
sent out, but by furloughs allowed men who lived in the 
immediate vicinity. It was at once driven out of the town 
but retreated unpursued only a short distance. It has been 
said that the men came in so quickly that the command was 
increased from two hundred to six hundred, before "the 
echoes of the enemy's artillery died away." This brigade 
established itself at Mount Sterling. 

Cluke now successfully inaugurated a strategy which has 
been greatly and justly admired by his comrades. Lieuten- 
ant Cunningham was sent with a few picked men to the vi- 
cinity of Lexington and directed to spy thoroughly upon the 

morgan's cavalry. 267 

officials there. Ascertaining enough to make the project 
feasible, the lieutenant sent a shrewd fellow (disguised in 
Federal uniform) to the headquarters of the officer com- 
manding, upon some pretended business which enabled him 
to hang about the office. While there this man purloined 
some printed blanks and brought them out with him. One 
of these was filled up with an order purporting to come from 
Lexington to the officer in command at Mount Sterling, in- 
structing him to march at once to Paris to repel a raid 
threatening the Kentucky Central railroad. He was directed 
to leave his baggage under a small garrison at Mount Ster- 
ling. A courier properly dressed bore this order to Mount 
Sterling and dashed in with horse reeking with sweat and 
every indication of excited haste. He played his part so 
well that the order was not criticized and induced no sus- 
picion. This courier's name was Clark Lyle — an excellent 
and daring scout. 

As soon as the necessary preparations were made the Fed- 
erals marched to Paris and Cluke re-entered the town, cap- 
turing the garrison and stores. He remained until the 8th 
of March, his scouts harassing the enemy and keeping him 
informed of their every movement. 

Another heavy advance of the enemy induced Colonel 
Cluke to retreat beyond Slate into the hills about Howard's 

Three companies were left in the vicinity of Mount Ster- 
ling under Captain Cassell. One stationed upon the North 
Middletown pike was so closely pressed by the enemy that it 
was forced to cross Slate, below Howard's mill. The 
other two were also hotly attacked and driven back to Col- 
onel Cluke's encampment, sustaining, however, but slight 
loss. Cluke marched to Hazelgreen, determining to await 
there the arrival of General Humphrey Marshall, who was 
reported to be approaching from Abington with three thou- 
sand men. 

Captain Calvin Morgan volunteered to carry a message 
to Marshall and traveled alone the wild country between 
Hazelgreen and Pound Gap, a country infested with a crowd 

268 morgan's cavalry. 

of ferocious bushwhackers. About this time Cluke's whole 
force must have been badly off, if the language of one of his 
officers be not exaggerated, who (in an account of the en- 
campment at Hazelgreen) declares that "the entire command 
was prostrated by a severe attack of erysipelas." 

Threatening demonstrations from the enemy induced 
Cluke to retreat from Hazelgreen and still farther into the 
mountains. He established himself on the middle fork of 
the Licking, near Saliersville. On the 19th of March, he 
found himself completely surrounded. Fifteen hundred of 
the enemy had gained his rear, a thousand, advancing from 
Louisa, were on his right, and eight hundred were at Proc- 
tor on his left. In his front was the garrison of Mount 
Sterling, five hundred strong, but likely at any moment to 
be reinforced by the forces then in central Kentucky. The 
roads in all directions were so well observed that he could 
not hope to escape without a fight. 

His command was reduced to about three hundred effec- 
tives — the rest were suffering from the erysipelas. In this 
emergency he conceived a determination at once bold and 
exceedingly judicious. He resolved to march straight on 
Mount Sterling and attack it at any hazard. He trusted 
that the enemy would send no more troops there, but would 
(believing that he would seek to escape southward) send 
all that could be collected to intercept him in that quarter. 

A tremendous march of sixty miles in twenty-four hours, 
over mountains and across swollen streams, brought him 
to Mclntyre's ferry of the Licking, thirty miles from Mount 
Sterling. Crossing on the night of the 20th and morning of 
the 2 1st, Major Steele was sent with his battalion via 
Owingsville (in Bath county) to take position on the Win- 
chester pike beyond Mount Sterling, that he might give 
timely information of the approach of reinforcements to the 
garrison. Colonel Cluke moved with the rest of his com- 
mand through Mud Lick Spring, directly to Mount Sterling. 
Colonel Cluke at the head of a body of men entered the town 
from the east, while Lieutenant-Colonel Stoner with two 
companies from the Eleventh Kentucky, the men of the 

morgan's cavalry. 269 

Ninth under Captain McCormick and Hopkins' scouts, 
charged in from the northwest. 

The enemy fell back and shut themselves up in the court- 
house. Stoner charged them but was driven back by a heavy 
fire from the windows. A detachment of thirty men were 
then ordered to advance on the street into which the Win- 
chester pike leads and burn the houses in which the Federals 
had ensconced themselves. With torch, ax and sledge ham- 
mer these men under McCormick and Cunningham forced 
their way into the heart of the town. As they reached the 
"Old Hotel," which was occupied by a body of the Federals, 
and used as a hospital, a flag of truce was displayed. Mc- 
Cormick, Cunningham and six others entered, and were 
coolly informed by some forty or fifty soldiers that the sick 
had surrendered but they (the soldiers) had not, and threat- 
ened to fire upon them from the upper rooms, if they tried 
to escape from the building. At the suggestion of Lieu- 
tenant Saunders, the eight Confederates forced the sick men 
to leave the house with them in a mingled crowd, thus 
rendering it impossible for the Federals to fire without en- 
dangering the lives of their comrades. Before quitting the 
house they set it on fire. In a short time the entire Federal 
force in the town surrendered, and victors and vanquished 
went to work together to extinguish the flames. 

Colonel Cluke took four hundred and twenty-eight pris- 
oners, two hundred and twenty wagons laden with valuable 
stores, five hundred mules and nearly one thousand stand of 
arms. Captain Virgil Pendleton, a most gallant and val- 
uable officer, was killed in this affair. Captain Ferrill and 
Lieutenant Maupin were seriously wounded. 

Cluke immediately evacuated the town and was attacked 
some five miles to the eastward of it by a force of Federal 
cavalry preceding a body of infantry which were approach- 
ing to relieve the place. An insignificant skirmish resulted 
and Cluke marched to Owingsville unpursued. On the next 
day he encamped at Mclntyre's ferry and collected his entire 
command, now convalescent. Marshall, marching from 
Pound Gap about this time, dispersed the forces which had 


gone to capture Cluke at Saliersville. On the 25th, Major 
Steele was sent across the Kentucky river to join General 
Pegram, who had advanced with a brigade of Confederate 
cavalry to Danville. Major Steele reached him much far- 
ther south. As he was retreating from the State, General 
Pegram halted near Somerset to fight a strong force of the 
enemy which was following him and was defeated. Major 
Steele's battalion was highly complimented for the part it 
took in the action and in covering the subsequent retreat. 
On the 26th Colonel Cluke again advanced and encamped 
in the vicinity of Mount Sterling. He received orders soon 
after from General Morgan to return and marched south- 
ward accordingly. Colonel Cluke had good right to be 
proud of this expedition. He had penetrated into the heart 
of Kentucky and maintained himself for more than a month 
with vastly inferior forces. He recrossed the Cumberland 
at the same point at which he had crossed it and was sta- 
tioned with Colonel Chenault in the vicinity of Albany. 

In order to trace properly the history of the division dur- 
ing this period, it is necessary that I disregard chronological 
arrangement and return to the winter in Tennessee. In the 
latter part of February a new regiment was formed of Ma- 
jor Hamilton's battalion and some loose companies which 
had long been unattached, and some which had recently 
been recruited for General Morgan. Colonel R. C. Mor- 
gan (brother of the general), was assigned to the com- 
mand of this regiment, and Major Hamilton became lieu- 
tenant-colonel. A month or two later, a valuable addition 
was made to it in Quirk's Scouts. Colonel Morgan was an 
excellent officer and had acted as assistant adjutant-general 
to Lieutenant-General A. P Hill through all the stern 
battles and glorious campaigns in which his chief had fig- 
ured so conspicuously. Becoming tired of staff duty and 
anxious to exchange the infantry service for the less mo- 
notonous life in the cavalry, he naturally chose his broth- 
er's command and obtained a transfer to it. He became 
a dashing cavalry officer. 

During this winter more prisoners were taken than 


there were effective men in the division, or men actively 
at work. The loss in killed and wounded which it in- 
flicted was also severe, and the capture of stores, muni- 
tions, etc., were valuable and heavy. 

The great lack of supplies necessary to the comfort of 
troops required to do constant and severe duty in such 
weather told injuriously upon the discipline of the com- 
mand. It was impossible to obtain clothing, shoes, etc., 
in quantities at all adequate to the demand, and the great- 
est efforts of energy and enterprise upon the part of the 
subaltern officers never make up for a deficiency in the 
regular supply of these articles from the proper sources. 

Pay was something the men scarcely expected, and it 
benefited them very little when they received it. Cer- 
tainly, if comfortable clothing and good serviceable boots 
and shoes had been issued, as they were needed, and the 
rations had been occasionally improved by the issue of 
coffee, or something which would have been esteemed a 
delicacy, the discipline and efficiency of all the troops 
would have been vastly promoted. It is hard to maintain 
discipline when men are required to perform the most 
arduous and harassing duties without being clothed, shod, 
paid or fed. If they work and fight they will have little 
time to provide for themselves. But they certainly will 
not starve, and they object, decidedly, to doing without 
clothing if by any means and exertions they can obtain it. 
Then the converse of the proposition becomes equally 
true, and if they provide for themselves they will have lit- 
tle time to work and fight. With cavalry, for instance, 
the trouble of keeping men in camp who were hungry and 
half frozen, and who felt that they had done good service, 
was very great. The infantryman, even if equally desti- 
tute, could not well straggle, but the cavalry soldier had 
his horse to take him. The habit of straggling, once be- 
gun, usually became incorrigible. But in nine cases out 
of ten it was originally induced by hunger or the effort to 
procure very necessary articles. 

The winter wore away and the condition of affairs in 


Tennessee as described in the first part of this chapter 
continued unchanged. Three times the enemy advanced 
in heavy force (cavalry, infantry, and artillery) to Liberty. 
Upon each occasion, the regiments stationed there under 
Colonel Breckinridge, after skillfully and courageously 
contesting his advance for many miles to the front of 
Liberty, fell back to Snow's Hill, three miles to the east 
of it, and returned to press hard upon the enemy's rear 
when he retired. 

At length, upon the 19th of March, when Colonel Ward 
was absent with his regiment reconnoitering in the direc- 
tion of Carthage, and the force at Liberty was weakened 
by other detachments until it was scarcely more than six 
hundred strong, information was received that the enemy 
were advancing and were near Milton, a small village 
about eighteen miles from Liberty. General Morgan had, 
the day before, notified Colonel Breckinridge of his inten- 
tion to be at Liberty on the 19th. Colonel Breckinridge, 
when it became clear that the enemy was certainly press- 
ing, posted his command in a good position upon the Mur- 
freesboro pike and sent a courier to Gano with a request 
that the latter would promptly join him with his entire 
effective force. Colonel Breckinridge says of this dispo- 
sition of his command : 

To delay the enemy and give Gano time to come up the pickets were 
strengthened and thrown forward. The enemy, being infantry, came on 
slowly but gradually drove our pickets in. The peculiar formation of 
the ground gave the brigade great advantage and admirably concealed 
its weakness. The enemy made demonstrations but made no attack, 
and before nightfall bivouacked in line in sight of our skirmishers. 
Just at dark Morgan rode upon the ground and was received with 
deafening cheers ; and soon afterward Colonel Gano came up. Under 
cover of night the enemy withdrew to Auburn. 

General Morgan, in his official report of the fight which 
ensued on the next day at Milton, says : 

On the evening of the 19th instant I reached Liberty, Tenn., and 
learned that the Federals were moving upon that place from Murfrees- 
boro, their numbers being reported at from two thousand to four 
thousand infantry and two hundred cavalry, with one section of artillery. 
At the time I reached my videttes on the Milton road, the enemy was 

morgan's cavalry. 273 

within five miles of Liberty; it being night they fell back to Auburn 
and encamped. Determining to attack them next morning, I ordered 
Colonels Breckinridge and Gano, who were in command of brigades, 
to move within four miles of the enemy and hold themselves in readi- 
ness to move at any moment. In the meantime, I sent the "Scouts" to 
watch the movements of the enemy and to report, and to see if any 
reinforcements came up; also, to send me information when the enemy 
moved, for I was determined not to make the attack at Auburn, as they 
held a very strong position, and I was desirous that they should move 
beyond a gorge in the mountains before the attack was commenced; 
for, if they had been permitted to take position there it would have been 
impossible to dislodge them. After daylight one of the scouts returned, 
bringing intelligence that the enemy was moving. Captain Quirk was 
ordered to move forward with his company and attack the enemy's rear 
when they passed the mountain, and retard their progress until the main 
column arrived. When within a mile of Milton, Captain Quirk came up 
with their rear guard and commenced a vigorous attack upon it. The 
enemy immediately halted, deploying their skirmishers to the_ rear, and 
bringing their pieces into position, commenced shelling Captain Quirk's 
men and the road upon which they had advanced. In a short time I 
arrived upon the ground. Finding that the main column of the enemy 
was still falling back and their artillery was unsupported by any troops 
(with the exception of their skirmishers) I determined, if possible, to 
capture it. I, therefore, ordered Lieutenant-Colonel Martin to move to 
the left with his regiment and Colonel Breckinridge to send one to the 
right — to go forward rapidly and when within striking distance to 
move in and cut off the pieces. Having two pieces of artillery, I or- 
dered them to go forward on the road, supported by Colonel Ward's 
regiment, dismounted, and the remainder of the command to move in 
column in supporting distance. 

Just before the two regiments which had moved to the right andleft 
reached the proper place to move upon the artillery the enemy's skirm- 
ishers and artillery fell back rapidly upon their main column, which 
occupied a steep hill covered with cedars. They placed their battery 
on a line with their column on the road immediately upon their right. 
To reach this position we would have to pass through a cedar brake, 
the ground being very rough and broken. A few of the enemy's skirm- 
ishers were thrown forward to that point. I ordered my two pieces 
of artillery to move upon the left of the road until they reached a point 
within four hundred yards of the enemy's artillery and then to silence 
their guns. 

They went forward gallantly supported by a part of Ward's regi- 
ment. Lieutenant-Colonel Martin, who still occupied his position on 
the left, was ordered forward to threaten the right of the enemy. At 
the same time I ordered the command under Colonel Gano to move up, 
dismount and attack the enemy vigorously, immediately in the front. 
Colonel Breckinridge was ordered to move to the right with his com- 
mand and attack their extreme left. Captain Quirk, in the meantime, 
had been ordered to get upon the pike immediately in the rear of the 
enemy, which he did in a most satisfactory manner, capturing fifteen or 
twenty prisoners. 

He remained in the rear of the enemy until reinforcements came to 
them from Murfreesboro (only thirteen miles distant), when he was 


driven back. When our artillery opened the whole command moved 
forward. Colonel Martin charged in most gallant style, and had a num- 
ber of his horses killed with canister as the guns of the enemy were 
turned upon him. The remainder of the command was moved up to 
within one hundred yards of the main column of the Federals and dis- 
mounted. Moving rapidly to the front, they drove in the enemy's 
skirmishers and pushed forward in the most gallant manner upon the 
hill occupied by the enemy, which was about sixty yards from the cedar 
brake alluded to. Colonel Breckinridge, who commanded our extreme 
right, had his men dismounted and went boldly up, the enemy's artillery 
being at this time moved from the pike to a position upon the top of 
the hill immediately in their center ; but this was not accomplished until 
it came near being captured by Colonel Grigsby, who was within fifty 
yards of it and moving rapidly upon it, when his ammunition giving 
completely out he was forced to halt. It was near this point that Col- 
onel Napier was severely wounded while cheering and leading his men 
up. Colonel Grigsby was also wounded while in front of his command 
and encouraging his men. At the same time the firing from the center 
of the line nearly ceased; a few scattering shots, now and then, gave 
evidence that nearly all of the ammunition was exhausted. Two more 
rounds would have made our victory complete and two thousand Fed- 
erals would have been the result of the day's fighting. 

Finding his ammunition completely gone, General 
Morgan ordered a withdrawal and fell back to Milton, the 
enemy neither firing upon nor pursuing him. Here he 
found an ordnance train and four pieces of artillery which 
had been sent from McMinnville. He was encouraged to 
renew the attack, hoping to capture the entire opposing 
force. Martin was placed in the same position which he 
had previously occupied, and Gano, whose entire com- 
mand had by this time arrived, was sent to the right. 

In his report thereon General Morgan says : 

The artillery took position in about eight hundred yards of the 
enemy' battery, and commenced a rapid and severe fire upon it. The 
enemy had again taken position upon the pike, from which he was soon 
driven by Lieutenant Lawrence, who was in command of my battery. 
Our pieces were served with the greatest precision and coolness, and the 
men stood by their guns Hke veterans. Although they had but few 
men in the fight the casualties were two killed and eighteen wounded, 
showing the determination with which they held their position. Too 
much praise can not be awarded to Lieutenant Lawrence. Three times 
the enemy had to change the position of their battery, and were silenced 
until reinforced by additional guns. While this artillery duel was pro- 
gressing, my men were moving to the front and were about dismount- 
ing, when Captain Quirk was driven from the rear by a large force of 
the enemy which had just arrived in time to save the force in our front. 
I immediately ordered my entire command to fall back to Milton and 
from thence to Liberty. The enemy did not follow. 


General Morgan expressed his perfect satisfaction with 
the conduct of the officers and men in this fight, and com- 
plimented his brigade commanders and his personal staff. 

One reason of the want of success in the first onset was 
the fatigue of men and horses by the long and rapid ride 
to Auburn, and thence to the position taken by the enemy. 
In the stretching gallop down the road, which General 
Morgan ordered in his impatience to overtake the enemy 
and apprehension lest they should get away, the column 
necessarily became prolonged, the men scattered and 
many (their horses falling) dropped out entirely. But 
few men, consequently, were available when the attack 
commenced. As the detached portions of regiments, di- 
vided by this speedy march, came up, there was, neces- 
sarily, some confusion and some difficulty in putting them 
at once promptly and smoothly into the fight. 

For these reasons, and on account of the usual details 
for horse-holders, perhaps not more than one thousand 
men were engaged on our side, and these (as has been just 
explained) could not be handled as effectively as was nec- 
essary to force a strong position held by superior num- 
bers. Colonel Ward's regiment is frequently alluded to 
in Colonel Morgan's report, but it should be stated that 
the bulk of that regiment was absent; only sixty men 
(one of its companies), under Captain Cates, were pres- 
ent. The scanty supply of ammunition, however, and its 
failure at the critical moment was the principal cause of 
the repulse, or rather withdrawal of our troops. All who 
have given any account of this battle concur in praising 
the conduct of the combatants. It was fought with the 
utmost determination and with no flinching on either side. 

One incident is thus described by an eye-witness : 

Just here Martin performed one of those acts of heroic but useless 
courage, too common among our officers. When his regiment wavered 
and commenced to fall back, he halted until he was left alone; then at 
a slow walk rode to the pike, and with his hat off rode slowly out of 
fire. He was spendidly mounted, wore in his hat a long black plume, 
was himself a large and striking figure and I have often thought that 
it was the handsomest picture of cool and desperate courage I saw in 
the war. 

276 morgan's cavalry. 

Our loss in this fight was very heavy, especially in offi- 
cers. The list of wounded officers was large. Captains 
Sale, Marr,* Cooper and Cossett, and a number of other 
officers, were killed. Captain Sale was the third captain 
killed of Company E, Second Kentucky. Captain Cos- 
sett, of the Ninth Tennessee, was under arrest at the time, 
for charges of which he was acquitted after death. He 
was killed, fighting with his musket, as a volunteer. Gen- 
eral Morgan's clothing was torn with balls. 

About this time an impression prevailed at General 
Bragg's headquarters that the enemy was about to evac- 
uate Murfreesboro and, perhaps, Nashville. General Mor- 
gan had come to Liberty on the 19th, in order to recon- 
noiter and ascertain the truth of this rumor. 

Upon the day before, Colonel Breckinridge had been 
ordered to move to Lebanon with his brigade and a sec- 
tion of Byrne's battery, and was informed that he would 
be supported by Gano. In the order he was told: 

The object of these demonstrations is to discover, if possible, whether 
(he rumored evacuation of Murfreesboro by the Federals is true, and, 
if so, to what point they are moving their forces. In the event that 
they are falling back to Nashville, the command will move from Leba- 
non, cross the river and attack and harass them. At Lebanon, or 
within twenty-four hours after your arrival at that point, certain in- 
formation can be obtained as to what is taking place on the enemy's 
lines. In the event your pickets or scouts report an advance from 
Readyville or Murfreesboro, you will not leave your present position. 

Upon the 19th the following dispatch came from Gen- 
eral Bragg's headquarters to Wheeler : 

To Major-General Joseph Wheeler, McMinnville, Tennessee: 
Ascertain what direction the enemy takes after leaving Gallatin. 
[Signed] Geo. Wm. Brent, A. A. Gen'l. 

This proved conclusively that General Bragg believed 
that Nashville and the whole of middle Tennessee was 
about to be evacuated by the Federal army. 

General Morgan did not believe so, nor did Colonel 

* Captain Marr was desperately wounded and reported dead, but re- 

morgan's cavalry. 277 

Breckinridge, who was charged with the scouting of all 
the extreme right flank. The latter officer says : 

It is true that, at this time, General Rosecrans ordered back his sick, 
his surplus baggage, camp followers, increased his guard at every sta- 
tion in his rear, displayed greater vigilance at his pickets, veiled his 
movements in greater secrecy, and became stringent in his rules about 
passes to and from his camps and lines. All our scouts reported these 
movements, and our generals concluded he meant a retreat. Morgan 
believed otherwise. 

General Morgan in reality believed that these were all 
the indications of an advance rather than of retreat, and 
he confidently anticipated the former in the early part of 
April. On the 3rd of April there was an advance, which, 
although not of the entire Federal army, yet compre- 
hended so large a part of it as to completely rid the coun- 
try in which the command had been wintering of its pres- 
ence for a short time. 

This force approached Liberty on the 2nd of April, 
causing the concentration there of both brigades, with the 
exception of the detachments necessarily sent to observe 
different important points. The entire command, after 
some skirmishing, took position near Liberty, but to the 
east of it, and encamped in line of battle on the night of 
the 2d. 

The enemy retreated about a mile and bivouacked. 
Scouts were sent through his camp that night and discov- 
ered that behind the cavalry was a heavy infantry force. 
Other scouts also reported that Hazen was advancing from 
Readyville and Crook from Carthage. Colonel Ward was 
sent to watch the Carthage road, and all the rest were dis- 
posed to resist the advance of the enemy directly in front. 
Colonel Gano was senior officer and leaving Breckinridge 
to conduct the retreat to "Snow's hill," he took charge of the 
preparations for defense there. 

"Snow's hill" was regarded by the majority of the offi- 
cers who had served about Liberty as a very strong posi- 
tion, but I believe they all agreed subsequently that the 
opinion was a mistaken one. As a defensive position 
against attack from an enemy who came through Liberty 

278 morgan's cavalry. 

it possessed no strong features at all; in reality the ad- 
vantages were all on the side of the attacking party if he 
possessed a numerical strength which would enable him 
to occupy all the approaches to the position and maintain 
a connected line. It is a long slope, or rather collection of 
sloping ridges, which, beginning at the table land east- 
ward of the valley in which Liberty is situated, point due 

The road from Liberty to Smithville runs through the 
center of the position upon Snow's hill which was selected 
for defense, but bends and curves according to the neces- 
sities of the grade. The ridges all point toward Liberty 
and are parallel to the general direction of the road. They 
can not be called rugged and inaccessible, for although 
their northern and southern sides are somewhat precipi- 
tous, the backbone of each is comparatively smooth and 
the ascent is by no means abrupt or difficult from the 
points where they subside into the valley to their summit 
at the eastern ends. The ravines between these ridges 
can be readily traversed by troops and the bluffs at the 
eastern extremity of each, or where they "head," can be 
easily climbed. It is true that the conformation of the 
ground presents at one side a serious obstacle to an at- 
tacking force. The base of these ridges, which have been 
described, or the parent hill, of which they seem to be 
offshoots, is separated from the level ground to the east- 
ward by a singular and deep gulf, some two or three hun- 
dred yards wide and I know not how long. This abyss 
(it may be called) is crossed by a sort of natural wall, or 
what would be termed in railroad parlance, "fill," the sides 
of which are very abrupt and steep. It is not more than 
thirty or forty feet wide, and the road runs along it. To 
the southward of this deep, long chasm is a gap in the 
hill through which ran a road by which the rear of the en- 
tire position could be gained. If this gap had been occu- 
pied and the narrow road across the wide, deep chasm 
had been adequately commanded by earthworks which 
could protect the defenders from artillery planted on the 


tops of the hills, the position would have been impregna- 
ble, perhaps, from attack against its front, and the enemy- 
could have carried it only by marching far around upon 
one or the other flank. But the position always selected 
by our forces stationed there for fight was about half way 
down the ridges toward Liberty Here the enemy's artil- 
lery had full play at them, his infantry marching up the 
ravines and ridges had an equal chance with them, for 
there was no cover and all were equally exposed; the 
regiments defending the position were necessarily separ- 
ated from each other and could not act in concert; their 
horses embarrassed them unless carried a long distance 
to the rear, and their every movement was completely 
apparent to the enemy The left flank was, also, always in 
danger, and if turned by cavalry the retreat would be nec- 
essarily compromised. 

During the night of the 2nd the Sixth Kentucky and 
Quirk's Scouts were posted to watch the enemy, and the 
rest of the command was withdrawn to the eastward of 
Liberty and took position upon the hill. Two guns of 
Byrne's Battery were planted to sweep the road, a few 
hundred yards from the town. At daylight the enemy's 
cavalry charged the force in front of the town and drove 
it back. Major Bullitt, commanding the Sixth Kentucky, 
held them back for a while, but their numbers and the 
dash with which they came told, and they forced him to 
rapid retreat. Soon their close pursuit brought the enemy 
within the range of the guns and their fire made them call 
a halt, and Bullitt and Quirk charged in their turn. The 
Confederates, however, were borne steadily backward. 

To the east of Liberty the enemy met with another 
check at the long covered bridge over Dry creek, about 
a mile from the town. The guns were planted to com- 
mand the bridge and masked; when the enemy had 
crowded it full Byrnes opened and burst his shells right in 
their midst. In a short time answering artillery drove the 
Confederates away 

Established on Snow's hill, the line was not able to re- 

280 morgan's cavalry. 

main long in position under the heavy fire of artillery and 
the attack of the infantry. A long column of cavalry 
moved up Dry creek and turning upon the left flank, came 
through the gap which has been mentioned. Lieutenant- 
Colonel Huffman was sent with the Third Kentucky to 
check them, but, unluckily, did not reach the gap in time. 
He prevented, however, their further advance until the 
troops under Colonel Breckinridge (which about the same 
time began to retreat) had passed the point where this 
force could have cut them off. 

I came up to the rear, about this time, in company with 
Colonel Smith; we had ridden from McMinnville to- 
gether and had heard cannonading and learned that there 
was a fight going on. We saw nothing of it, however, but 
its effects upon the stragglers, who seemed to have un- 
accountably increased. I had been absent from the com- 
mand for more than two months, but knew of the gallant 
service it had done and took for granted that its morale 
was unimpaired. Colonel Smith, who had left Liberty only 
two or three days before, was more surprised than myself 
at the stream of stragglers which we met. The moral 
condition of the men was the most singular I ever wit- 
nessed. There was no panic, no running, jostling, wild 
fear. They rode along quietly, talked rationally, seemed 
utterly free from any lively and immediate apprehension, 
but "just couldn't be made to fight," and yet quiet and 
"serene" as seemed to be their timidity, it made some of 
them go clear off, swim unfordable streams and stay away 
for days. We were unprovided with a guard, and al- 
though we could stop these fellows until the road was 
packed and jammed with them, it was utterly impossible 
to make them turn back. At length, in disgust, we gave 
up the attempt and rode on to see what was the condition 
of affairs nearer the scene of actual fighting. Colonel 
Smith hastened to his regiment, and I went in quest of 
Colonels Gano and Breckinridge and kept a watch for the 
Second Kentucky. 

I met the column of Colonel Breckinridge retreating, 



but in excellent order; the ranks were depleted by the 
stragglers, but the men who were left were as firm and 
cool as ever. The same was true of that portion of Col- 
onel Gano's brigade which I saw. The men were occa- 
sionally cheering and seemed perfectly ready to return, if 
necessary, to fight. When Lieutenant-Colonel Huffman, 
in accordance with orders sent him by Colonel Gano, un- 
dertook to withdraw from his position upon the left, his 
men became crowded and confused on account of the pe- 
culiar conformation of the ground. The enemy, taking ad- 
vantage of this confusion, charged him. The Fourth Reg- 
ulars came vigorously upon his rear, and did smart dam- 
age. The regiment recoiled in disorder for some dis- 
tance. At length Gano, with some thirty or forty men, 
charged the Fourth Regulars and checked them. Quirk 
dashed to his assistance with about the same number of 
men and the enemy was driven completely away. No 
further pursuit was attempted and the column retreated 
toward Smithville. 

At this date Colonel Gano's connection with the com- 
mand ceased and we lost the benefit of his character as an 
officer and man. No officer had won more and better 
merited distinction and his popularity was justly very 
great. Functional disease of the heart, brought about by 
exposure, hard work and intense excitement compelled 
him to withdraw, for a time, from active service, and 
when he returned with reestablished health to the field it 
was to win new laurels and accomplish brilliant work in 
the Trans-Mississippi.* 

The division received more injury from this affair than I 
would have supposed a hard fight and serious defeat could 
have done it. Nearly two weeks were required to collect the 
fugitives. General Morgan, on his way to join us on the 
night of the 3d, met a straggler wandering loosely about 
and demanded sternly why he was absent from his regiment. 
"Well, General," answered the fellow ingenuously, "I am 

* He was made brigadier-general soon after his transfer. 


Service Around Alexandria and Liberty — Fight at Greasy Creek — 
Start on the Great Raid — Passage of the Cumberland — 
Fighting at BurkEsvillE, Columbia, Green River Bridge and 
Lebanon — Crossing the Ohio — Through Indiana and Ohio — 
Constant Collisions with the Militia — Marching around 
Cincinnati — Morgan Defeated at Buffington, Himself and 
Greater Part of His Command Captured — In the Ohio Peni- 
tentiary — Morgan's Escape. 

We remained at Smithville until the 7th of April, and then 
returned to Liberty, in obedience to orders from General 
Wheeler, who had reached Alexandria on the same evening 
with Wharton's division. Two or three days subsequently, 
General Wheeler proceeded to Lebanon with all of the troops 
at his disposal. 

General Wheeler remained at Lebanon three days. Dur- 
ing that time the enemy advanced once from Murfreesboro, 
but retreated before reaching our pickets. Upon our return 
from Lebanon a portion of the forces, only, were sent to 
Alexandria; more than half, under command of General 
Wheeler, passed through Rome to the immediate vicinity of 
Carthage. Remaining here during the night, General 
Wheeler fell back toward Alexandria, reaching that place 
about 1 or 2 P M. Wharton's division was again encamped 
here and Morgan's division, under my command, was sent 
to Liberty, except Smith's regiment, which was stationed 
near Alexandria. 

Two or three days after this, the enemy moved out from 
Carthage as far as New Middleton, ten miles from Alex- 
andria, where General Wheeler attacked them and drove 
them back to Carthage. On the 19th or 20th the enemy ad- 
vanced upon McMinnville with a strong force of infantry, 
cavalry and artillery. There was no cavalry force at the 
place at all except General Morgan's escort (forty or fifty 
strong) , but there was some ninety infantry under command 
of Major Wickliffe of the Ninth Kentucky Infantry sta- 

morgan's cavalry. 283 

tioned there. After a good deal of preliminary reconnoiter- 
ing and some skirmishing with the men of the escort, the 
enemy's cavalry dashed into the town, eight abreast, driving 
out General Morgan and several officers, who happened to 
be collected at McMinnville upon sick leave, or on special 
duty of some sort. Among them were Colonel Cluke, Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel Martin and Major McCann. Exchanging a 
few shots with the cavalry, this party retreated upon the 
Sparta road. McCann's horse was shot in the melee and 
fell, bringing him to the ground. He sprang to his feet and 
standing in front of the charging column, shouted "You 
have got the old chief at last," seeking to produce the im- 
pression that he was General Morgan and so favor the lat- 
her's escape. He was ridden over, severely sabered and cap- 
tured; but having been placed in an old stable and allowed 
a canteen of apple brandy, he got the guard drunk and dug 
out under the logs during the night, effecting his escape. 
L,ieutenant-Colonel Martin received a bad wound through 
the lungs. All of the others escaped uninjured. The in- 
fantry retreated in perfect order to the mountains, two or 
three miles distant. The enemy pursued but were driven 
back by the volleys given them whenever they pressed 

A day or two after this affair General Wheeler withdrew, 
with both divisions, across Caney Fork into Buffalo valley. 

The road by which we moved was a rough and bad one, 
and the ford at which we crossed execrable, making it a 
tedious affair. Morgan's division during these operations, 
on account of heavy detachments having been made from 
it and pretty heavy straggling, was very much reduced. 

During a week or ten days' stay in Buffalo valley the 
stragglers were collected and the regiments were gotten into 
pretty good order again. Cluke's, Chenault's and Morgan's 
regiments were still stationed upon the Cumberland, in 
Wayne, Clinton and Cumberland counties. The latter regi- 
ment was driven away from Celina some time in the early 
part of May; it had been posted there to protect the collec- 
tion of commissary stores for Wheeler's corps. After tak- 

284 morgan's cavalry. 

ing the town of Celina, the Federal forces burned it and 
took position along the Cumberland on the northern side, 
confronting our forces on the southern. Pegram's Brigade 
was also stationed at Mbnticello, in Wayne county, Ken- 
tucky. It was attacked and driven away on the 28th of 
May. General Morgan after these affairs occurred was 
ordered to move with his division to Wayne county and 
drive the enemy from the region south of the Cumberland; 
or if he found him too strong to be driven and he manifested 
an intention (which was somewhat feared) of pressing into 
East Tennessee, to at least retard his advance. 

When General Morgan reached Monticello, which the 
enemy had evacuated shortly after the affair with Pegram, 
he found Cluke, with his own regiment and Chenault's, lying 
in front of a superior Federal force in Horeshoe bottom on 
Greasy creek, in the western end of Wayne county Cluke 
had been skirmishing with them for two or three days. 
General Morgan sent couriers to hasten the march of his 
other regiments — the Second, Third, Fifth and Sixth Ken- 
tucky, and Ninth Tennessee and his artillery. 

Nothwithstanding that the utmost expedition was used, 
we did not arrive upon the ground until after 3 P M., al- 
though the order arrived at 9 or 10 A. M. During the day, 
Cluke and Chenault were fighting with the enemy, at inter- 
vals, neither losing nor gaining ground. When we arrived 
these regiments had almost entirely expended their ammuni- 
tion, and averaged but two cartridges per man. The rough 
road over which we had marched and the rapidity with 
which the march was made had not only caused the artillery 
to be left far in the rear, but had told severely on the column. 
Several horses dropped dead. Many gave out so completely 
that they had to be left. The strength of the five regiments 
was reduced to eight hundred men when they arrived upon 
the field. 

One instance of uncommon gallantry upon the part of a 
private soldier — Theodore Bybee of Company C, Second 
Kentucky — ought to be related. His horse fell dead be- 
neath him and he caught the stirrup of a comrade and ran 

morgan's cavalry. 285 

eight or ten miles to the scene of the fighting. As soon as 
we arrived General Morgan ordered us to form for attack. 
No one in the command was familiar with the ground, and 
the disposition of the line was made with reference only to 
what could be seen. 

On the left of our position was a deep ravine, with which 
the road ran parallel. The whole ground was covered, in 
every direction, with thick timber except for perhaps ten 
or fifteen acres directly in front of the line formed by Cluke's 
and Chenault's regiments. In this open space, which was 
an old field and orchard and nearly square, was situated a 
small house. Just on the other side of it and in the edge 
of the woods the enemy were posted. The road ran through 
the center of it and, immediately after entering the woods at 
the northern extremity, turned to the left, crossing the ravine. 

The mistake General Morgan made in supposing that the 
road continued to run straight, and thus inducing him to 
make no inflection of his line on the right of the road to- 
ward the enemy's left flank, prevented his capturing a good 
many prisoners and perhaps the enemy's artillery Cluke's 
and Chenault's regiments were together not more than three 
hundred and fifty strong upon the field. The Fifth Ken- 
tucky and Ninth Tennessee were formed about one hundred 
yards in the rear of Cluke and Chenault. The Third and 
Sixth Kentucky were formed about two hundred yards in 
the rear of this line and a little farther to the right. The 
Second Kentucky and Colonel Morgan's regiment, which 
had also arrived, were held in reserve, the former on foot, 
the latter mounted. All of the horses were placed on the 
left of the road. Just as these dispositions were completed, 
the enemy opened upon us with two pieces of artillery 
which did no damage except to the horses, several of which 
were killed. As no artillery had been used previously, Gen- 
eral Morgan thought that its appearance upon the field be- 
tokened the arrival of reinforcements to the enemy, perhaps 
in considerable numbers, and he thought, for a moment, of 
withdrawing his troops. 

A few seconds of time elapsing, it was demonstrated that 

286 morgan's cavalry. 

before we could retreat we would be forced to repulse the 
enemy. At the roar of the guns, they came charging across 
the open ground, yelling like devils, or rebels. The crash of 
musketry for a minute, in the limited space, was quite heavy. 
Cluke's line quickly discharged all of its ammunition, and 
then gave back before the enemy's determined rush without, 
however, losing its formation, or any of the men turning 
their faces from the enemy. These two regiments were ex- 
ceedingly reliable in battle. 

After this line had backed some twenty-five paces the 
second line came to its support, and the men in the latter 
passing through the intervals between the files of the former 
poured into the faces of the Federals, at that time almost 
mingled with the men of Cluke's and Chenault's regiments, 
a volley which amazed and sent them back. As our line 
pressed after them across the open ground the artillery, only 
a short distance off, told severely on it and continued its fire 
until our foremost participants were close upon the guns. 

The enemy made a stand at the point where the road 
crosses the ravine, to enable the guns to escape, but the Third 
and Sixth Kentucky coming up they were again driven. So 
dense was the woods that pursuit was almost impossible. 
Colonel R. C. Morgan dashed down the road, but secured 
only a few prisoners. The enemy conducted the retreat with 
the most perfect coolness. About three hundred yards from 
the point where the last stand was made one company halted 
and picketed the road, while all the rest (as we afterward 
ascertained) continued to rapidly retreat to the river. Our 
loss in this skirmish, which lasted about half an hour, was, 
in the first brigade, ten killed and sixteen wounded, and in 
the second five or six killed and wounded. The enemy lost 
twenty-one killed, and a smaller number of wounded. Very 
few prisoners were taken. General Morgan, despairing 
of being able to surround or rush over the enemy in the 
rugged, wooded country, sent a flag of truce proposing a 
surrender. Captain Davis, assistant adjutant-general of the 
first brigade (who bore the flag) was detained until com- 
munication could be had with Colonel Jacobs, who com- 

morgan's cavalry. 287 

manded all the United States forces in that immediate 
region. Colonel Jacobs was some distance off, on the other 
side of the river, and it was growing dark. General Morgan 
sent another message demanding the release of Captain 
Davis, and declaring his intention of advancing as soon as 
that was done. Immediately upon the return of Captain 
Davis the column was moved forward. The pickets saluted 
the advance guard with a volley and gracefully fell back, 
and although we pressed on close to the river, we saw 
nothing more of them. 

The division remained on the line of the Cumberland, 
picketing from Stagall's ferry to Celina for nearly three 
weeks. The headquarters of the first brigade was at Al- 
bany, county seat of Clinton county ; that of the second 
at Monticello, county seat of Wayne. In that time the 
ranks filled up again, nearly all absentees, with or without 
leave, returning. The horses were grazed on the rich 
grass and carefully attended to and got in excellent condi- 
tion again. Several scouting expeditions were under- 
taken, during this period, against the enemy on the north 
side of the river, the most successful of which were under 
command of Captain Davis and Captain Thomas Franks, 
of the Second Kentucky. Each of these officers, with two 
companies, penetrated far into the enemy's lines, and at- 
tacking and routing the forces that they met, with small 
loss to themselves, brought off prisoners, horses, and cap- 
tured property of various kinds. These expeditions were 
not only of essential use in annoying the enemy, but were 
absolutely necessary to the maintenance of a proper spirit 
and energy among our men, whose morale and discipline 
were invariably sensibly impaired by an indolent and mo- 
notonous life. 

This period of the history of Morgan's Cavalry has been 
generally esteemed one of entire inaction upon the part 
of both leader and men. It is true that nothing was done 
in all this period which would at all compare with the 
dashing, enterprising career of the previous year. But a 
great deal of useful, if not brilliant service, was performed 

288 morgan's cavalry. 

and a vast deal of hard work was cheerfully gone through 

During the winter and spring of 1863 and until nearly 
the middle of the summer, our command was guarding 
and picketing a long front and scouting thoroughly a 
great extent of country besides. For six months the 
country about Liberty, Alexandria and Lebanon, and that 
about Monticello and Albany, was in a great measure com- 
mitted to Morgan's care. This gave him a front of quite 
one hundred and fifty miles to watch and guard, and at 
least half of the time he had to do it singlehanded. Then 
there was a great portion of middle Tennessee and of 
southern, central and eastern Kentucky, which his 
scouts constantly traversed. It is fair to say that from 
January to July, 1863, inclusive, during which time Mor- 
gan made no raid nor achieved any very marked success, 
our division was as constantly serving, fought and won as 
many skirmishes, guarded and scouted as great an extent 
of country, captured as many prisoners, and gave the 
Confederate Government as little trouble on the subject 
of supplies, as any other cavalry division in the Confed- 
erate army. 

But in this year its prestige began to pass away from the 
Southern cavalry. It was not that their opponents be- 
came their superiors in soldiership any more than in indi- 
vidual prowess. Although the Federal cavalry had 
greatly improved, had become formidable for its enter- 
prise and fighting capacity, it can yet be said that the Con- 
federate cavalry, when in proper condition, still asserted 
its superiority upon every field where there was an equal- 
ity of forces. But it was daily becoming more and more 
difficult to keep the Confederate cavalry in good condi- 
tion. An impression prevailed, no doubt a correct cne, 
that as for the great efforts of war the infantry was so 
much more useful and necessary, a far greater care ought 
to be taken of it than of the cavalry; and, then an idea 
obtained that inasmuch as our cavalry supplied itself so 
often, and occasionally so well, by its own captures, it 

morgan's cavalry. 289 

ought to do so all the time. But from these two proposi- 
tions a conclusion was drawn which proved very injurious 
to the cavalry, viz: that it was highly improper to issue 
anything which the Government had to furnish to that 
arm of the service. So it happened that, while to the cav- 
alry were intrusted the most responsible and important 
duties, scarcely any encouragement or assistance was af- 
forded it; and, on the contrary, a tone and conduct were 
adopted toward it apparently expressly intended to dis- 
gust. I speak in reference to Western cavalry and West- 
ern affairs altogether, for I served at no time with the 
Army of Northern Virginia and know nothing of it but 
the bare outline of its glorious record. 

Cavalry which was expected to be constantly engaging 
the enemy, and upon whose efficiency and success a vast 
deal depended, was grudgingly provided with or alto- 
gether denied arms and ammunition, unless they could be 
captured from the enemy. Hard and constant as was the 
service the cavalryman performed, exposed as he was to 
the severity of all sorts of climate, without shelter and 
often without the means of building the fire which stood 
him instead of tent, and sometimes had to furnish him the 
strength and cheer of the food he lacked, he was yet snub- 
bed mercilessly and generals commanding stared aghast 
if he presumed to ask for anything. 

One special cause of the degeneracy of the Southern 
cavalry in the latter part of the war was the great scarcity 
of horses and the great difficulty of obtaining forage 
within the Confederate lines, and consequently of keeping 
the horses which we had in good condition. Morgan's 
men had the reputation, and not unjustly, of procuring 
horses with great facility and economy. Adepts as we 
were in the art of "horse-pressing," there was this fact 
nevertheless to be said in favor of the system which we 
adopted : While making very free with the horse-flesh of 
the country into which we would raid, there was never 
any wanton waste of the article. We did not kill our dis- 
carded horses, as did the Federal commanders on their 


"raids," when we got fresh mounts. The men of our com- 
mand were not permitted to impress horses in a friendly 

General Morgan took fresh horses to enable his com- 
mand to make the tremendous marches which insured so 
much of his success, and to prevent his men from falling 
into the hands of the enemy, but he hedged around the 
practice with limitations which somewhat protected the 
citizen. He required that in every instance where a man 
desired to exchange his tired horse for a fresh one, he 
should have his horse inspected by his company com- 
mander, who should certify to the condition of the horse 
and the necessity of the exchange. If the company com- 
mander certified that his horse was unfit for service, the 
man obtained from his regimental commander permission 
to obtain a fresh one, which had also, before it was valid, 
to be approved by the brigade commander. Whenever it 
was practicable, the exchange was required to be made in 
the presence of a commissioned officer, and, in every case, 
a horse, if the soldier had it, was ordered to be left in 
the place of the one impressed. When a man was without 
a horse, altogether, his company commander could im- 
press one for him. 

There existed among the infantry not exactly a prejudice 
against cavalry (for they all wanted to join it) but that sort 
of feeling against it, which is perhaps natural upon the part 
of the man who walks against the man who rides. When 
the "web-feet" called us "buttermilk rangers," we did not 
get angry with them, for we knew that they were gallant fel- 
lows and that much walking tries the temper; but we did 
not admire the official prejudice against us, and thought an 
affected contempt of our arm in very bad taste upon the 
part of generals who not only never won battles but never 
tried to win them. 

In the spring and summer of 1863 supplies could be ob- 
tained for neither men nor horses of the cavalry of Bragg's 
army without the greatest difficulty and great oppression of 
the citizens. It was not the custom to issue (out of army 

. >: :: 


Adam R. Johnson 

Commanding 2d Brigade, Morgan's Div 


morgan's cavalry. 291 

supplies ) rations to the men, or forage to the horses of the 
cavalry commands ; they were required to provide for them- 
selves in these respects. It was impracticable, too, to supply 
them from the stores collected for army use. Certain re- 
gions, therefore, in which, for the proper protection of the 
lines, it was absolutely necessary to keep large bodies of 
cavalry — sections of country not fertile and at no time 
abounding in supplies — were literally stripped of meat, grain 
and every thing edible. All that would feed man or horse 
disappeared as if a cloud of Titanic and omniverous locusts 
had settled upon the land, and after the citizens were reduced 
to the extremity of destitution and distress, the soldiers and 
their horses suffered also with slow famine. 

One instance of the kind will serve to show how destruc- 
tive of the efficiency of cavalry was service under such cir- 
cumstances. When the division was ordered to Wayne and 
Clinton counties, Kentucky, the Ninth Kentucky, one of the 
best regiments in the cavalry of the West, was sent to 
Woodbury to picket that immediate section of country. 
For many miles around this little place the country had been 
exhausted of provisions and forage by the constant requisi- 
tion upon it during the winter and spring. The men of the 
Ninth Kentucky suffered severely for want of rations, but 
they esteemed their own sufferings lightly compared with 
those of their horses. Long forage (oats, fodder, etc.) 
could not be procured at all ; and corn had to be hauled a 
distance of over thirty miles from a region whence other 
cavalry commands were also drawing supplies of forage. 
Consequently, corn was rare at that time at Woodbury ; two 
or three ears per day to each horse was the usual issue. 
Upon some days none was issued. Every blade of grass in 
the vicinity of the camp was eaten, and the trees were barked 
by the poor animals as high as they could reach. 

The men stood picket on foot; all of the stock was ren- 
dered utterly unserviceable and one-fourth of it died. By 
such usage (necessary, however) this regiment was made 
unfit for active and efficient service for months, and its dis- 
cipline and morale were seriously, although only tempo- 


rarily, impaired. More than half — at any rate, a large pro- 
portion — of the cavalry of General Bragg's army was suf- 
fering at that time, precisely as this regiment was. In this 
condition of things is to be found the explanation of the 
apparent degeneracy of the Confederate cavalry in the latter 
part of the war. 

Another fact, too, should not be lost sight of. In com- 
mon with every other arm of the service our cavalry became 
very greatly reduced in numbers as the war wore on. We 
could not fill up our regiments as easily as the Federals 
could fill their wasted organizations. Those who wonder 
why well known Confederate regiments, brigades, and di- 
visions did not accomplish as much in the latter as in the 
early part of the war do not know, or do not reflect, that it 
was because they were reduced to a fraction of their original 
strength. This, however, was not the case at the period of 
which I write. 

On the 26th, the division was ordered back to Liberty and 
Alexandria. That country had been occupied and picketed, 
just before our return from Albany and Monticello, by a 
brigade of Wharton's division, commanded by Colonel 
(afterward Brigadier General) Harrison, of the Eighth 
Texas, a gallant and highly esteemed officer. Breckin- 
ridge's regiment (the Ninth Kentucky) was still kept at 
Woodbury. About this time Colonel A. R. Johnson re- 
turned from Texas, and was immediately assigned by Gen- 
eral Morgan to the command of the second brigade. This 
brigade had been ably commanded, since Gano's absence, 
by Cluke. Colonel Johnson retained none of the former 
brigade staff, except Lieutenant Sidney Cunningham, a 
brave and efficient officer, who was afterward lieutenant-col- 
onel of the Fifteenth Kentucky. The effective strength of 
the division, at this time, was twenty-eight hundred men. 
The horses were in better condition, and the men were bet- 
ter provided for in every respect, than at any period since 
the "December raid." New and excellent clothing had 
been issued them while on the Cumberland — a thing unpre- 
cedented in the history of the command — and their general 

morgan's cavalry. 293 

equipment was much superior to what it had been at the 
close of the winter. All were well armed, and with the 
kind of guns which were always preferred in Morgan's 

Colonel Adam R. Johnson had seen much arduous service 
before he came to Morgan. He had recruited a very fine 
command in western Kentucky, where he had acted inde- 
pendently and very successfully. He displayed during his 
entire military career an unusual degree of soldierly apti- 
tude, enterprise, and daring. He was an absolutely brave 
man and possessed a firmness of will and character that 
nothing could shake. He was made a brigadier general 
during the latter part of the war and was stricken blind by 
a shot, in his last battle, but did not relinquish command, and 
remained on the field until the fight was won. 

The first brigade made headquarters at Alexandria. The 
regiments composing it and Morgan's regiment (ordered to 
temporarily report to it), were encamped on the Lebanon 
pike and the roads to Carthage and Statesville. The sec- 
ond brigade, with its headquarters at Auburn, was disposed 
upon the road to Murfreesboro and between Auburn and 
Statesville. One regiment was posted at Statesville, which 
little place was nearly equidistant from Auburn and Alexan- 
dria. The country around was picketed and scouted thor- 
oughly in every direction, and the disposition of the regi- 
ments gave us such command of all the roads that we could 
have concentrated without difficulty, and as the exigency 
might require, at Auburn, Alexandria, or Liberty. The 
period that we remained here was passed in assiduous and 
diligent instruction of the troops. Drills, dress-parades, in- 
spections, etc., were constantly had; we had never before 
had so much time for those duties when the division was 
so nearly concentrated. The strictest vigilance was main- 
tained in our camps to prevent the passage through them of 
Federal spies, who, at this period and at this quarter of our 
lines, were unusually numerous, cunning, and audacious. 
The strict guard and watch maintained to frustrate and de- 
tect these parties operated favorably upon our own men, 


who were necessarily restricted, by the unusual precautions 
adopted, of much of the liberty they had previously enjoyed. 
The division was, perhaps, never in as high and salutary a 
state of discipline as at this time. 

On the ioth of June General Morgan arrived at Alex- 
andria, and orders were at once issued to prepare the di- 
vision to march on the next day. It soon became known, to 
all the officers at least, that he was about to undertake an 
expedition which he had long contemplated and which he 
had often solicited permission to make. This was the great- 
est of all his "raids," the one known as the "Ohio raid." 
Although it resulted disastrously to his own command, it 
bad a great influence upon the pending campaign between 
Bragg and Rosecrans, and greatly assisted the former. 

The military situation in Tennessee, at that time, may be 
briefly described : General Bragg's army lay around Tulla- 
homa, his cavalry covering his front and stretching far out 
upon both wings. General Buckner was in east Tennessee 
with a force entirely inadequate to the defense of that im- 
portant region. General Bragg, confronted by Rosecrans 
with a vastly superior force, dared not detach troops to 
strengthen Buckner. The latter could not still further 
weaken his small force by sending aid to General Bragg. 
General Burnside was preparing (in Kentucky) a force 
variously estimated at from fifteen to more than thirty thou- 
sand men, for the invasion of east Tennessee. With this 
force he could easily drive out Buckner. It was estimated 
that at various points in southern Kentucky, Bowling 
Green, Glasgow, and along the Cumberland river and at 
Carthage in Tennessee, and other points in that vicinity, 
there were from eight to twelve thousand Federal troops— 
the greater part of them under the command of a General 
Judah, whose headquarters were at Glasgow. Of these 
forces some five thousand were excellent cavalry. General 
Judah's official papers (captured on the Ohio raid), gave 
the exact strength of his force but I have forgotten it. 

There was perfect unanimity of opinion among the Con- 
federate officers about the plan and method of the antici- 





■■ - Indicates Oen Morgan's rou.t< 
a^mm Indicates Federals' route 

Soalb 30 uuaa to tbe inch ^'e. 



morgan's cavalry. 295 

pated Federal movement. Rosecrans, all believed, would 
press hard upon General Bragg; Burnsides, simultaneously, 
as soon afterward as was practicable, would move against 
Buckner. Judah's force could be used to keep open direct 
communication between these two armies, and also as a 
reserve. When the advance was fairly inaugurated, Judah, 
who in the meantime might guard against the raids of our 
cavalry, could be concentrated and moved through Burkes- 
ville, Livingston and Sparta, turning then, if General Bragg 
staid to fight, upon the right flank of the army at Tulla- 
homa; or, if General Bragg retreated, pressing down 
through the Sequatchie valley to Chattanooga. A junction 
of all forces, it was thought, would be made, and the Con- 
federate army would then confront a host too formidable to 
be beaten. 

This was the belief which prevailed in our army regarding 
the intentions of the enemy. It may have been incorrect. 
The feature which we of Morgan's cavalry especially dwelt 
upon, to wit, the part in the supposed program to be played 
by Judah, may have been altogether uncontemplated — per- 
haps he was not a man capable of having executed it. But 
whatever may have been the Federal plan of the campaign, 
it is certain that great danger menaced the army of General 
Bragg and all the salient points of his department. 

General Bragg regarded the peril with just apprehension 
— he took in its full proportions. He decided and (as was 
conceded by all who understood the situation) with good 
and sufficient reasons to retreat beyond the Tennessee river 
and then somewhere near Chattanooga, turning upon his 
foes, fight the battle which had to be delivered for the pro- 
tection of his department. But that retreat would be very 
hazardous. He was right in the path of the avalanche, and 
the least movement upon his part might precipitate it upon 
him. The difficulty and danger of crossing the Tennessee, 
with Rosecrans hard upon his rear, would be greatly aug- 
mented if these other Federal forces were poured down upon 
his flank. 

General Bragg, it may be repeated, knew how to use, and 

296 morgan's cavalry. 

generally used his cavalry to good purpose, and in this emer- 
gency he resolved to employ some of it to divert from his 
own hazardous movement and fasten upon some other 
quarter, the attention of a portion of the opposing forces. 
He hoped not only to give them enough to do to prevent 
them from annoying and endangering his retreat, but, also, 
to draw off a part of their forces from the great battle which 
he expected to fight. He selected Morgan as the officer who 
should accomplish this design. 

In the conference between them, General Morgan ex- 
pressed a perfect confidence in his ability to effect all that 
was desired of him, but dissented from General Bragg in 
one important particular. The latter wished him to confine 
himself to Kentucky — giving him carte blanche to go 
wherever he pleased in that State, and urging him to at- 
tempt the capture of Louisville. General Morgan declared 
that, while he could by a dash into Kentucky and a march 
through that State, protect General Bragg's withdrawal 
from the position his army then held, he could not thus ac- 
complish the other equally important feature of the plan, 
and draw off troops which would otherwise strengthen 
Rosecrans for the decisive battle. 

A raid into Kentucky would keep Judah busy and hold 
Burnsides fast until it was decided, but he contended it 
would be decided very soon, and he would be driven out ,or 
cut to pieces in a few days, leaving the Federal forces so 
disposed that they could readily commence their previously 
determined operations. A raid into Indiana and Ohio, on 
the contrary, he contended, would draw all the troops in 
Kentucky after him and keep them employed for weeks. 
Although there might be sound military reasons why Judah 
and Burnsides should not follow him, but should adhere to 
what he believed to be the original program of Rosecrans, 
General Morgan urged that the scare and the clamor in the 
States he proposed to invade would be so great, that the 
military leaders and the administration would be compelled 
to furnish the troops that would be called for. He thought 
that, even if he lost his command, he could greatly benefit 


General Bragg by crossing the Ohio river and only in that 

General Bragg refused him permission to make the raid 
as he desired to make it and ordered him to confine himself 
to Kentucky. I was not present at the interview between 
them, but General Morgan told me that General Bragg had 
ordered him to operate in Kentucky, and further stated that 
he intended notwithstanding his orders, to cross the Ohio. 
I do not mean to justify his disobedience of orders, but 
simply to narrate the facts as I learned them, and to ex- 
plain General Morgan's ideas regarding the movement, 
which were definite and fixed. This expedition into the 
Northwestern States had long been a favorite idea with him 
and was but the practical development of his theory of the 
proper way to prosecute the war, to-wit : by going deep into 
the country of the enemy. He had for several weeks fore- 
seen the necessity of some such diversion in General Bragg's 
behalf, and believed that the period for the accomplishment 
of his great desire was at hand. 

He had ordered me, three weeks previously, to send intel- 
ligent men to examine the fords of the upper Ohio — that 
at Buffington among them — and it is a fact, of which others, 
as well as myself, are cognizant, that he intended — long be- 
fore he crossed the Ohio — to make no effort to recross it 
except at some of these fords, unless he found it more ex- 
pedient when he reached that region to join General Lee if 
the latter should still be in Pennsylvania. 

Never had I been so impressed with General Morgan's 
remarkable genius, his wonderful faculty of anticipating 
the exact effect his action would have upon all other men 
and of calculating their action, his singular power of arriv- 
ing at a correct estimate of the nature and capacities of a 
country which he knew only by maps and the most general 
description, and the perfect accuracy with which he could 
foretell the main incidents of a march and campaign, as 
when he would briefly sketch his plan of that raid. All 
who heard him felt that he was right in the main, and 
although some of us were filled with a grave apprehension 

298 morgan's cavalry. 

we felt an inconsistent confidence when listening to him. 
He did not disguise from himself the great dangers he en- 
countered, but was sanguine of success. As it turned out, 
only the unprecedented rise in the Ohio caused his capture . 
he had avoided or had cut his way through all other dangers. 

On the nth of June, the division marched from Alexan- 
dria to the Cumberland and crossed the river not far from 
the little town of Rome. General Morgan desired to attack 
the Federal force stationed at Carthage and strongly forti- 

The division encamped two or three miles from the north- 
ern bank of the river, and not far from the turnpike which 
runs from Carthage to Hartsville. Information had been 
received that the mail passed on this road twice or three 
times a week, guarded by a small escort, and that comfort- 
ably lined sutlers' wagons sometimes accompanied the cav- 
alcade for the benefit of the protection the escort afforded. 
Colonel Ward was sent, with two or three companies of his 
regiment, to a point on the pike some eight miles from Car- 
thage and two or three from our encampment. He reached 
it just before sundown, and shortly afterward the mail train, 
accompanied by several sutlers' wagons and under charge 
of an escort eighty or a hundred strong came by, no one 
apparently suspecting the slightest danger and all keeping 
careless watch. When the procession came opposite to 
where Colonel Ward had posted his men (some seventy 
yards from the road), the Colonel gave the order to fire in 
a loud voice. At the unexpected command, which so sud- 
denly indicated danger, mail-carriers, sutlers, and guard 
halted in amazement, and when the answering volley broke 
upon them they went in every direction in the wildest con- 
fusion. Not a shot was fired in return, but the escort mani- 
fested plainly that it felt a very inferior degree of interest 
in the integrity of postal affairs. 

Few prisoners were taken but the mail and the wagons 
were secured. In one of the latter a corpulent sutler was 
found, wedged in a corner and much alarmed. He was 


past speaking when drawn out, but faintly signed that a 
bottle he had in his pocket should be placed to his lips. 

That evening a staff officer arrived from General Bragg 
with orders to General Morgan. He was instructed to 
make no attack upon Carthage, but to march as rapidly as 
possible to Monticello and strive to intercept a Federal raid- 
ing party which had broken into east Tennessee, under 
Brigadier General Saunders, and was threatening Knoxville. 
Upon the next morning, consequently, we recrossed the 
Cumberland and marched in the direction ordered. After 
passing through Gainesboro, we got into a very rugged 
country and upon the very worst roads. At Livingston we 
were overtaken by a tremendous rain, which lasted for two 
or three days and rendered the road almost impassable for 
artillery. This retarded our march very greatly, and we 
arrived at Albany three days later than we would otherwise 
have done, to learn that the enemy had already passed out of 
east Tennessee by way of Jamestown. 

The second brigade was encamped in Turkey-neck Bend 
of the Cumberland river, some fifteen miles in direct line 
from Burkesville. The first brigade was encamped along 
the river from a point opposite Burkesville to Irish Bottom. 
The division remained here for three or four days, awaiting 
the return of General Morgan, who had left us at the re- 
crossing of the Cumberland to go to McMinnville and hurry 
forward some supplies and ammunition. These stores were 
hauled to our camp in six wagons, which had nearly not 
gotten to us at all. The heavy rains which had so retarded 
the march of the division of Albany had made the roads 
which these wagons traveled perfect quagmires. When 
they reached the Obie and Wolf rivers, which are six miles 
apart at the points where the road from Sparta to Monti- 
cello crosses them, they met with a very discouraging sight. 
These little rushing mountain streams were much swollen 
and too deep for any kind of fording. General Morgan in- 
structed his Acting Inspector Captain D. R. Williams, an 
officer of great energy, to have the wagons taken to pieces 
and stowed, with their contents in canoes, and so ferried 


across. In this manner all were crossed in a single night. 
The mules were made to swim. 

On the 2d of July the crossing of the Cumberland began, 
the first brigade crossing at Burkesville and Scott's ferry, 
two miles above, and the second crossing at Turkey-neck 
Bend. The river was out of its banks and running like a 
mill-race. The first brigade had, with which to cross the 
men and their accoutrements, and the artillery, only two 
crazy little flats that seemed ready to sink under the weight 
of a single man, and two or three canoes. Colonel Johnson 
was not even so well provided. The horses were made to 

Just twelve miles distant upon the other side, at Marrow- 
bone, lay Judah's cavalry, which had moved to that point 
from Glasgow in anticipation of some such movement upon 
Morgan's part as he was now making. Our entire strength 
was twenty-four hundred and sixty effective men; more 
than a third of the division remained in Tennessee. The first 
brigade numbered fourteen hundred and sixty, the second 
one thousand. This, however, was exclusive of artillery, of 
which we had four pieces — a section of three-inch Parrotts 
attached to the first brigade and a section of twelve-pound 
howitzers attached to the second. Videttes, posted at inter- 
vals along the river bank, would have given General Judah 
timely information of this bold crossing, and he would have 
been enabled to strike and crush or capture the whole force. 
But he depended on the swollen river to deter Morgan, for- 
getting that Morgan invariably did that which was least 
expected of him. As soon as the latter learned of the 
strange supineness and lack of vigilance of his foe, he com- 
menced and hastened the work of crossing the river. About 
2 or 3 P M., the enemy began to threaten both brigades, but 
did not advance with determination. The Sixth Kentucky 
and Ninth Tennessee had all been gotten across at Burkes- 
ville by this time, and portions of the other regiments were 
also across, as well as two pieces of artillery. General Mor- 
gan formed this entire force and led it to attack the enemy 
threatening Burkesville. He placed a portion of it in am- 


bush at a point about a mile from the town, and, when the 
head of the enemy's column approached, fired such a volley 
into it as made it at once recoil. Then charging, he drove 
the enemy back in confusion and at full speed, never letting 
them halt until they reached the encampment at Marrow- 
bone. He pursued the force which he had routed into the 
camp, but was repulsed in an attack upon the latter by the 
artillery and reserve forces there. 

The effect of this bold dash was to draw back the force 
threatening Johnson, also, and allow him to cross without 
molestation. Our loss was very slight — among other gal- 
lant fellows who were hurt Captain Quirk was so severely 
wounded that he could go no further upon the expedition. 
Some prisoners were taken. The enemy, after this hint not 
to interfere, remained shut up in his encampment until we 
were no longer in any danger. 

The division encamped that night about ten miles from 
the river, on the road to Columbia. A large party of commis- 
saries of subsistence were with us, sent by General Bragg 
to collect supplies north of the Cumberland and bring them 
to Tullahoma escorted by one of Morgan's regiments. A 
variety of causes conspired to prevent these gentlemen from 
returning at the time and in the manner contemplated by 
General Bragg. In the first place, we learned, immediately 
after we had crossed the Cumberland, by men who came 
from the rear, that General Bragg had already commenced 
his retreat; this would considerably lengthen the distance 
which the commissaries would have to drive their cattle. 
Secondly, General Morgan came to the conclusion that he 
had use for all of his troops and that he would not detach 
the regiment which was to have guarded the cattle. This 
resolution not only prevented the cattle from being driven to 
General Bragg, but also decided the commissaries not to 
return immediately. 

The country through which they would have had to pass 
was infested by a set of bushwhackers, in comparison with 
whose relentless ferocity that of Bluebeard and the Welch 
giants sinks into insignificance. Chief among them was 


"Tinker Dave Beattie," the great opponent of Champ Fer- 
guson. This patriarchal old man lived in a cove, or valley 
surrounded by high hills, at the back of which was a narrow 
path leading to the mountain. Here, surrounded by his 
clan, he led a pastoral, simple life, which must have been 
very fascinating, for many who ventured into the cove never 
came away again. Sometimes Champ Ferguson, with his 
band, would enter the cove, harry old Dave's stock and 
goods, and drive him to his retreat in the mountain, to which 
no man ever followed him. Then, again, when he was 
strong enough, he would lead his henchmen against Champ 
and slay all who did not escape. But it must not be under- 
stood that he confined his hostility to Captain Ferguson and 
the latter's men; on the contrary, he could have had, had 
he so chosen, as many scalps drying in his cabin as ever 
rattled in the lodge of a Comanche war-chief, and taken 
with promiscuous impartiality. There were not related of 
Beattie so many stories, illustrative of his personal strength 
and bull-dog courage, as of Champ Ferguson. I knew of 
the latter having gone, on one occasion, into a room where 
two of his bitter enemies lay before the fire, both strong 
men and armed, and, throwing himself upon them, he killed 
both (after a hard struggle) with his knife. But Beattie 
possessed a cunning and subtlety which the other, in great 
measure, lacked. Both of these men were known to have 
spared life on some rare occasions, and perhaps none were 
so much astonished, thereat, as themselves. On one occa- 
sion, Ferguson was called upon to express an opinion re- 
garding the character of a man who had been arrested near 
a spot where bushwhackers had just fired upon the party he 
(Ferguson) was with, and, from several suspicious indi- 
cations, this man was thought to be one of them. By way 
of giving him a chance it was decided that Ferguson, who 
knew every man in that country, should declare his doom, 
influenced by his previous knowledge of him. Ferguson, 
somewhat to the astonishment of the tribunal, begged that 
he should be released, saying that he knew he was a Union 
man, but did not believe that he was a bushwhacker. The 


man was released. Subsequently Ferguson said, after a 
long- fit of silence, "I have a great notion to go back and 
hunt that man. I am afraid I have done wrong, for he is 
the best shot in this part of the State and, if he does turn 
bushwhacker, he will kill a man at every shot." Such ex- 
treme nicety of conscience was not attributed to Beattie, nor 
was he said to be as faithful to his friends as was Ferguson. 

Such were the kind of men whom our friends of the sub- 
sistence department would have had to encounter if they had 
gone back. There were, at the time, no Confederate troops 
in that country, and Champ Ferguson was resting in in- 
glorious ease at Sparta. Dave Beattie had broken out of 
his cove, and was ready to hold "bloody assizes" as soon as 
he secured his victims. Our friends were not accustomed 
to "raiding" and to cavalry habits, but, after thorough re- 
flection, they resolved, with a heroism that would have done 
honor to the heavy artillery service, not to return but to face 
all the hardships and dangers of the expedition. They were 
gallant men, and endured the tremendous fatigue and shared 
the hardships as cheerfully as if they had come legitimately 
by them. 

The chief of this party, Major Higley, was as full of 
dash and as fond of adventure as a man could be. He 
sought the front on all occasions, and soon became a thor- 
ough cavalryman in all respects. General Morgan placed 
him temporarily upon his staff and he proved a very efficient 
officer, and seemed much gratified that his commissaries had 
been cut off. 

There was one case of almost abduction, however, which 
excited universal regret and commisseration : An old gen- 
tleman from Sparta had come with the division to Burkes- 
ville to get a barrel of salt, as there was none to be had at 
Sparta. His benevolent virtues had endeared him to all 
who knew him, and, so, when it became apparent that he 
must go back, leaving behind him his purchase and at the 
risk of fearful dangers, or follow us through the whole raid, 
he received much and unaffected condolence. He perfectly 
realized his situation. He knew that if he fell into "Tinker 

3°4 morgan's cavalry. 

Dave's" hands, he would be pickled without salt, and he had 
not the slightest idea of trying it on. And yet he felt a 
natural sorrow at going so far away from home. Some 
two weeks later, when we were in Ohio and being peppered 
by the militia, he said to an officer of the first brigade with 
tears in his eyes and a touching pathos in his voice : "Cap- 
tain, I would give my farm in White county, Tennessee, and 
all the salt in Kentucky to stand once more, safe and sound, 
on the banks of the Calf-killer creek." 

On the morning of the 3rd the division resumed its march, 
pushing on to Columbia. Colonel Morgan's regiment, 
although included in the field return of the first brigade, 
was detached and used as an advance guard for the column. 
In the afternoon, as we neared Columbia, this regiment 
came upon the enemy moving out from the town. In the 
skirmish which ensued, Colonel Morgan lost a few wounded, 
among the number Captain J T. Cassell, who was shot in 
the thigh as he was charging with his accustomed gallantry. 
He was placed in an ambulance and went in that way 
through the raid and escaped capture. Captain Cassell had 
been ordered to report to Colonel Morgan with his company, 
a few weeks previously, and was acting as second in com- 
mand of the advance guard. Captain Franks of the Second 
Kentucky was ordered to report to Colonel Morgan to fill 
the position left vacant by the disabling of Captain Cassell. 
After this skirmish had lasted a short time, the Second Ken- 
tucky was ordered up to support Colonel Morgan. Major 
Webber dismounted his men and attacked with great vigor. 
The enemy did not stand a moment ; were driven back into 
the town, fought a short time from the houses, and were 
soon dislodged and driven pell-mell out of the town. Major 
Webber lost two men killed. The enemy's loss was also 
slight. It was a detachment of Woolford's regiment, and 
retreated toward Jimtown. 

On that evening the division encamped six or eight miles 
from Columbia. A regiment of Federal infantry was sta- 
tioned at Green river bridge, where the road from Columbia 
to Campbellsville and Lebanon crosses the Green river. 

morgan's cavalry. 305 

General Morgan sent Captain Franks to watch them, who 
reported that during the entire night he heard the ringing 
of axes and the crash of falling timber. The next morning 
we learned what it meant. Early on the 4th the column was 
put in motion, and the second brigade (marching in front) 
soon came upon the enemy. Captain Moore, the officer 
commanding the Federal force (a Michigan regiment), had 
selected one of the strongest natural positions I ever saw, and 
had fortified it with a skill equal to his judgment in the se- 
lection. The Green river makes here a tremendous and 
sweeping bend, not unlike in its shape to the bowl of an im- 
mense spoon. The bridge is located at the tip of the bowl, 
and about a mile and a half to the southward, where the 
river returns so nearly to itself that the peninsula (at this 
point) is not more than one hundred yards wide — at what, 
in short, may be termed the insertion of the handle — Colonel 
Moore had constructed an earthwork crossing the narrow 
neck of land, and protected in front by an abattis. The 
road upon which we were advancing runs through this posi- 
tion. The peninsula widens again, abruptly, to the south- 
ward of this extremely narrow neck, and just in front of 
the skirt of woods in which the work and abattis was sit- 
uated, is an open glade about two hundred yards in ex- 
tent in every direction. Just in front of, or south of this 
plat of cleared ground, runs a ravine deep and rugged, ren- 
dering access to it difficult, except by the road. The road 
runs not directly through, but to the left of this cleared 
place. All around it are thick woods, and upon the east and 
west the river banks are as steep and impassable as preci- 
pices. At the southern extremity of the open ground and 
facing and commanding the road a rifle-pit had been dug, 
about one hundred and twenty feet long, capable of contain- 
ing fifty or sixty men, and about that number were posted in 
it. When Colonel Johnson's brigade neared the enemy, he 
sent Cluke with his own regiment and the Tenth Kentucky, 
then greatly reduced in numbers, to cross the river at a ford 
upon the left of the road and take position on the northern 
side of the river, and commanding the bridge. 

306 morgan's cavalry. 

This was intended to prevent the retreat of the enemy and 
keep off reinforcements that might approach from the north- 
ward. A flag of truce was then sent to Colonel Moore, de- 
manding the surrender of his command. He answered, 
"The 4th of July is a bad day for surrenders, and I would 
rather not." Captain Byrnes had planted one of the Par- 
rotts about six hundred yards from the rifle-pits, and skirm- 
ishers had been thrown out in front of it. As soon as the 
bearer of the flag returned, Byrnes opened with the gun. 
He fired a round shot into the parapet thrown up in front 
of the trench, knocking the fence rails, with which it was 
revetted, into splinters and probing the work. One man in 
the trench was killed by this shot, and the rest ran (just as 
our skirmishers dashed forward) and retreated across the 
open ground to the work in the woods beyond. Now the 
serious business commenced. Artillery could not be used 
to dislodge them from the position, which was meant to be 
defended in earnest. This open ground between the points 
where were constructed the rifle-pit (which was only a blind) 
and the strong work where Moore intended to fight is the 
flat summit (for crest, properly speaking, it has none) of a 
hill, or rather swell of land, which slopes gently away on 
both the northern and southern sides. Guns planted any- 
where except upon this plateau and near its center could not 
have borne upon the enemy's position at all, and if they had 
been planted there, every cannoneer would have been killed 
before a shot could have been fired. The only way to take 
the work was by a straight forward attack upon it, and Col- 
onel Johnson moved against it his brigade, or rather the two 
regiments if it, left on the southern side of the river, neither 
of which was three hundred strong. The men, gallantly 
led, dashed across the open ground and plunged into the 
woods beyond. 

The Federal force, some four hundred strong, was dis- 
posed behind the work and abattis, holding a line not much 
more than a hundred yards long. The first rush carried the 
men close to the work, but they were stopped by the fallen 
timber and dropped fast under the close fire of the enemy. 


Colonel Chenault was killed in the midst of the abattis — his 
brains blown out as he was firing his pistol into the earth- 
work and calling on his men to follow. The second bri- 
gade had started with an inadequate supply of ammunition, 
and the fire of the attacking party soon slackened on that 
account. General Morgan ordered me to send a regiment 
to Colonel Johnson's assistance, and I sent the Fifth Ken- 
tucky. Colonel Smith led his men at a double-quick to the 
abattis, where they were stopped as the others had been and 
suffered severely. The rush through a hundred yards of 
undergrowth, succeeded by a jam and crowding of a regi- 
ment into the narrow neck, and confronted by the tangled 
mass of prostrate timber and the guns of the hidden foe, 
was more than the men could stand. They would give way. 
rally in the thick woods, try it again, but unsuccessfully. 
The fire did not seem, to those of us who were not imme- 
diately engaged, to be heavy. There were no sustained vol- 
leys. It was a common remark that the shots could almost 
be counted. 

Our loss was thirty-six killed, and forty-five or six 
wounded. The loss of the enemy (according to the most 
authoritative account) was nine killed, and twenty-six 

Many fine officers were included in our list of casualties. 
Colonel Chenault, whose death has been described — an offi- 
cer who had no superior in bravery and devotion to the 
cause he fought for — was a noble gentleman. Major Brent 
of the Fifth Kentucky was killed. He was an officer who 
was rapidly taking — in reputation and popularity — the place 
among the field officers of the division which Hutchinson 
had held. He was recklessly brave, and possessed a natural 
military aptitude and a resolution in exacting duty from his 
subordinate officers and men which made him invaluable to 
his regiment. Captain Treble, who a short time previously 
had been transferred from the Second to the Eleventh Ken- 
tucky (Chenault's regiment), was also killed. He displayed, 
in this, his last battle, the same high courage which ever ani- 

308 morgan's cavalry. 

mated him.* Lieutenant Cowan, of the Third Kentucky, 
and Lieutenants Holloway and Ferguson of the Fifth Ken- 
tucky — all very fine officers — were also among the killed. 
Among the wounded officers of the Fifth Kentucky was the 
gallant and efficient adjutant, Lieutenant Joseph Bowmar. 

When General Morgan learned that the men were falling 
fast and that no impression was being made upon the enemy, 
he ordered their withdrawal. He had not been fully aware, 
when the attack commenced, of the exceeding strength of the 
position although he knew it to be formidable, and he 
thought it probable that the garrison would surrender to a 
bold attack. It was his practice to attack and seek to cap- 
ture all but the strongest of the forces which opposed his 
advance upon his raids, and this was the only instance in 
which he ever failed of success in this policy. He believed 
that the position could have been eventually carried, but (as 
the defenders were resolute) at a cost of time and life which 
he could not afford. Colonel Moore ought to have been 
able to defend his position, against direct attacks, had an 
army been hurled against him. But this does not detract 
from the credit of his defense. His selection of ground 
showed admirable judgment; and, in a brief time, he forti- 
fied it with singular skill. He deliberately quitted a strong 
stockade, near the bridge (in which other officers would 
probably have staid) and which our artillery would have 
battered down very soon, to assume the far better position ; 
and his resolute defense showed he appreciated and meant 
to hold it to the last. 

Crossing the river at the same ford at which Cluke had 
previously crossed, the division marched toward Campbells- 
ville. Our wounded and dead were left under the charge of 
surgeons and chaplains, who received every assistance that 
he could furnish, from Colonel Moore, who proved himself 
as humane as he was skillful and gallant. We passed 
through Campbellsville without halting. 

On that evening a horrible affair occurred. A. certain 

* When killed he was still suffering from a wound received at Wood- 

morgan's cavalry. 309 

Captain Murphy took a watch from a citizen who was being 
held, for a short time, under guard to prevent his giving 
information of our approach and strength to the garrison 
at Lebanon. Captain Magenis, assistant adjutant-general 
of the division, discovered that this theft had been perpe- 
trated and reported it to General Morgan, who ordered 
Murphy to be arrested. Murphy learned that Magenis had 
caused his arrest, and persuaded the guard (who had not 
disarmed him ) to permit him to approach Magenis. When 
near him, Murphy drew and cocked a pistol and denounced 
the other furiously, at the same time striking him. Cap- 
tain Magenis attempted to draw his saber and Murphy fired, 
severing the carotid artery and producing almost instant 
death. Murphy made his escape on the night that General 
Morgan had ordered a court-martial to try him — the night 
before we crossed the Ohio. The wretch ought to have 
been butchered in his tracks, immediately after the murder 
had been committed. There was no officer in the entire 
Confederate army, perhaps, so young who had evinced 
more intelligence, aptitude and zeal, than had Captain Ma- 
genis. Certainly, there was not among them all a more 
true-hearted, gallant, honorable gentleman. General Mor- 
gan deeply regretted him. His successor, Captain Hart Gib- 
son, was in every way qualified to discharge, with ability 
and success, the duties of the position, doubly difficult in 
such a command and under such circumstances. 

On the night of the 4th the division encamped five miles 
from Lebanon, upon the ground whence we drove the ene- 
my's pickets. Lebanon was garrisoned by Colonel Hanson's 
regiment, the Twentieth Kentucky Infantry, U. S. A., and not 
far off on the road to Harrodsburg, two Michigan regiments 
were stationed. On the morning of the 5th, the division 
approached the town and a demand for its surrender was 
made, which was declined. The first brigade was formed 
on the right of the road, with two regiments in reserve. 
The second was assigned the left of the road. The artillery 
was planted in the center and at once opened upon the slight 
works which were thrown up south of the town. As the 


regiments in the front line advanced, the enemy retreated 
into the town. Both brigades lost slightly in effecting this, 
and succeeded, immediately afterward, in dislodging the 
enemy from the houses in the edge of the town, both on the 
left and on the right. The enemy, then, concentrated 
mainly in the large depot building upon the railroad; a 
few sought shelter in other houses. Grigsby's and Ward's 
regiments, of the first brigade, held the right of the town 
and the houses looking upon the depot in that quarter. 
From these houses they kept up a constant fire upon the 
windows of the depot. Cluke's and Chenault's regiments, 
the latter under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Tucker, 
were as effectively located and employed upon the left. Our 
artillery, although under able officers, proved of little use to 
us in this affair. On account of the situation of the depot in 
low ground the shots took effect in the upper part of the 
building, doing the occupants little damage. Lieutenant 
Lawrence, however, at length posted one of his guns — the 
Parrotts — on a hill immediately overlooking the building, 
and, greatly depressing it, prepared to fire into it at an angle 
which threatened mischief. But the sharpshooters pre- 
vented his men from working the guns effectively. This 
state of affairs lasted for two or three hours. The Michi- 
gan regiments before mentioned drew near and threatened 
interference, and General Morgan, who had sought to re- 
duce the garrison without storming their stronghold, in 
order to save his own men, at length ordered it to be carried 
by assault. Smith's regiment, at first held in reserve in the 
first brigade, had, previously to this determination upon the 
part of the general, been engaged, but the Second Kentucky 
was still in reserve. Major Webber was now ordered to 
bring that regiment forward, enter the town and storm the 
buildings occupied by the enemy. The Second Kentucky 
had tried that sort of work before, and advanced with 
serious mien, but boldly and confidently. Major Webber 
skillfully aligned it and moved it forward. The heavy 
volley it poured into the windows of the depot drove the 
defenders away from them just as the regiment reached the 


building, and Colonel Hanson surrendered. The other 
houses occupied by the enemy were surrendered shortly 

At the last moment of the fight a sad loss befell us. Lieu- 
tenant Thomas H. Morgan, younger brother of the general, 
was killed just before the enemy surrendered. He was first 
Lieutenant of Company I, of the Second Kentucky, but was 
serving at the time of his death upon my staff. He habit- 
ually sought and exposed himself to danger, seeming to 
delight in the excitement it afforded him. He had repeat- 
edly been remonstrated with on that day regarding his reck- 
less exposure of his person. He was stricken by the fate 
which his friends feared for him. When the Second Ken- 
tucky advanced he rushed in front of it and, while firing his 
pistol at the windows of the depot, was shot through the 
heart. He exclaimed to his brother Calvin that he was 
killed, and fell (a corpse) into the latter's arms. He was 
but nineteen when killed, but was a veteran in service and 
experience. The first of six brothers to join the Confeder- 
ate army, he had displayed his devotion to the cause he 
espoused in the field and the prison. I have never known a 
youth of so much promise, and of so bright and winning a 
temper. His handsome, joyous face and gallant, courteous 
bearing made him very popular. He was the pet and idol 
of the Second Kentucky. General Morgan (whose love for 
the members of his family was of the most devoted charac- 
ter) was compelled to forego the indulgence of his own 
grief to restrain the Second Kentucky, furious at the death 
of their favorite. When his death became generally known 
there was not a dry eye in the command. 

Although our loss in killed and wounded was not heavy 
in numbers, it included some valuable officers and some of 
our best men. We lost eight or nine killed and twenty-five 
or thirty wounded. In the early part of the fight, Captain 
Franks led a party of the advance guard to the southern 
end of the depot, and set it on fire. He was severely 
wounded in doing this, making the third officer, occupying 
the position of second in command of the advance guard, 


wounded in four days. The loss in the guard fell princi- 
pally upon members of the "Old Squadron." Of these were 
killed Lieutenant Gardner and private Worsham; and Ser- 
geant William Jones and privates Logwood and Hawkins 
were badly wounded, all very brave men and excellent sol- 
diers. A gallant deed was performed, on that day, by Pri- 
vate Walter Ferguson, one of the bravest men I ever knew ; 
poor fellow, he was hung by Burbridge afterward. His 
friend and messmate Logwood lay wounded and helpless 
not far from the depot, and Ferguson approached him un- 
der the galling fire from the windows, lifted and bore him 
off. Several men were lost out of the Second Kentucky; 
among them Sergeant Franklin, formerly captain of a Mis- 
sissippi company in the Army of Northern Virginia. 

A large quantity of ammunition, many fine rifles, an 
abundant supply of medicines, and many ambulances and 
wagons were the fruits of this victory. The prisoners were 
double-quicked to Springfield, eight miles distant, for the 
dilatory Michiganders had at length begun to move, and 
there was no reason for fighting, although we could have 
whipped them. At Springfield the prisoners were paroled. 
Company H, of the Second Kentucky, was detached here. 
Company H was sent to Harrodsburg to occupy the atten- 
tion of Burnsides' cavalry. The division marched all night, 
reaching Bardstown at 4 o'clock on the morning of the 6th. 
During the night Lieutenant-Colonel Alston (acting chief 
of staff to General Morgan) lay down to sleep in the porch 
of a house, and awakened to find himself in the hands of 
the enemy. 

When we reached Bardstown we found there Company C 
of the Second Kentucky, which had been detached at Mul- 
drough's Hill to reconnoitre the line of the Louisville and 
Nashville Railroad toward Louisville and ascertain what 
troops were stationed along it. Captain Sheldon had been 
kept very busy with stockades and trains. He stopped one 
train carrying a detachment of troops and demanded their 
surrender. James B. Bullit, a brave and excellent soldier, 
was killed, while bearing the flag of truce. Fred Edwards, 


Moses Savage and another man, whose name I have for- 
gotten, all veterans of the company and extremely brave 
men, were killed in the skirmish which ensued. When 
Sheldon reached Bardstown, he drove the small garrison 
occupying the town, after a smart skirmish, into a large 
stable. Not wishing to needlessly sacrifice his men in an 
attack nor to burn the building, Sheldon summoned the gar- 
rison ; but remembering the fate of James Bullit on the pre- 
vious day, the men showed some hesitation to bear the flag. 
Lieutenant Thos. W Bullit, one of the very best and most 
gallant officers in the command, and brother of James Bul- 
litt, at once declared that he would be the messenger. 
Tying his handkerchief on a ramrod, he proceeded on his 
mission. When he was close to the stable the doors were 
thrown open, disclosing a number of armed men, and one 
of them raised his rifle and seemed about to shoot. Lieu- 
tenant Bullit called out that he was bearing a flag of truce 
and demanded to speak to the officer in command. Cap- 
tain W O. Watts, who was commanding, immediately 
struck down the leveled rifle and sharply rebuked the men 
who showed a disposition to fire. He, however, positively 
refused to surrender and held out during the night, a good 
deal of sharpshooting going on all the time, without, how- 
ever, much damage. When he heard the tramp of the col- 
umn coming in at daylight, Captain Watts concluded that 
"discretion was the better part of valor" and gave up. 

Watts and Bullit became subsequently very well ac- 
quainted in Louisville after the war, and in discussing this 
event, Watts gave an explanation of why his man was 
about to fire on Bullit, which the latter thought only par- 
tially satisfactory. It goes without saying that the linen 
of raiding cavalry is not usually immaculate and of snowy 
whiteness; and, as I have said, Bullit had used his hand- 
kerchief as the emblem of truce. "Now," said Watts, 
"when my man saw that, he didn't know it was a flag of 
truce, but thought you were displaying the 'black flag' in 
token that you intended to give no quarter." Captain 
Watts remained with us a prisoner until the next day, and 


was then paroled. He rode with me at the head of the 
column and I found him very agreeable; it was the begin- 
ning of a long and pleasant acquaintance. 

That afternoon, as we were getting near to Lebanon 
Junction, and had reached a point where the road on which 
we were marching was within some two hundred yards of 
the Bardstown branch of the Louisville and Nashville Rail- 
road, I suddenly discovered a hand-car proceeding at a rapid 
rate along the railroad in the direction of the Junction. 
Several men were on it, and one was clad in blue clothing, 
which at that distance, resembled a Federal uniform. 
Thinking that these men were seeking to beat us to the 
junction and give information of our approach, I called to 
the officer commanding the advance guard to send men to 
intercept them. Five or six of the guard at once leaped a 
low fence on the side of the road and made at full speed 
across the meadow in order to head off the hand-car. In- 
stead of halting when ordered to do so, the men on the car 
increased its speed. Those in chase began to fire, but over 
the heads of the fugitives. I had joined the chase myself, 
and was immensely surprised when Captain Watts galloped 
past me, flourishing his pistol, which I had permitted him to 
retain, and utttering the direst threats against the fugitives. 
We soon overtook them, and, ascertaining that they were 
citizens proceeding on a perfectly legitimate and harmless 
mission, I merely required them to wait a little while. I 
could not, however, forbear expressing my amazement at 
Captain Watts' action. 

"It was to be expected, Captain," I said, "that we would 
try to catch these fellows, thinking that they were Federals. 
But why were you so anxious to catch them?" 

He looked the picture of bewilderment for a moment, and 
then broke out, "Well, Colonel, I wish I may be shot, if I 
hadn't forgot which side I was on." 

The column reached Lebanon Junction, thirty miles from 
Louisville, just at dark and a train from Nashville was 
captured. A little of Ellsworth's art applied here disclosed 

morgan's cavalry. 315 

the fact that Morgan was expected at Louisville, and that 
arrangements had been made to give him a warm reception. 

We marched during the entire night, and on the next 
morning, after crossing the bridge over Salt river, halted 
for two or three hours. Captains Taylor and Meriwether, 
of the Tenth Kentucky, were sent forward to capture boats 
10 enable us to cross the Ohio, and went about their errand 
in good earnest. 

On the afternoon of the 6th Captain W J. Davis, assist- 
ant adjutant-general of the first brigade, was sent, with 
Company D of the Second and Company A of the Eighth 
Kentucky, to demonstrate in the vicinity of Louisville and 
produce the impression that we were about to attack the city, 
so that the enemy's attention might be diverted from our 
intended crossing of the Ohio at Brandenburg. He was in- 
structed to then cross the river at Twelve Mile Island and 
rejoin the column at Salem, Indiana. He performed the 
first part of his work successfully, and detained three river 
gun-boats which might otherwise have given us great 
trouble at Brandenburg. These boats, however, prevented 
his crossing; and while attempting it his detachment was 
attacked, himself and the greater number captured and the 
others dispersed. Lieutenant J. B. Gathright, of the Eighth 
Kentucky, collected thirty-four of these men, only eight of 
whom were mounted, and led them safely back to Tennes- 
see through the midst of hostile forces. 

These two companies, — the two detached at Springfield 
and Captain Salters of the Sixth Kentucky detached near 
Columbia to attract the attention of the enemy at Crab Or- 
chard and Stanford, which service he very successfully per- 
formed — made five in all which were permanently separated 
from the column during the remainder of the raid. We 
reached Garnettsville, which is nine miles from Branden- 
burg, on the evening of the 7th. 

The division marched from Garnettsville shortly after 
midnight, and by 9 or 10 A. M. we were in Brandenburg 
upon the banks of the river. Here we found Captains Tay- 
lor and Meriwether, awaiting our arrival. They had sue- 

316 morgan's cavalry. 

ceeded in capturing two fine steamers; one had been taken 
at the wharf and, manning her, they cruised about the river 
until they found and caught the other. 

We were rejoined here by another officer whose course 
had been somewhat eccentric, and his adventures very ro- 
mantic. This was Captain Thomas Hines, of the Ninth 
Kentucky, then enjoying a high reputation in our command 
for skill, shrewdness and exceeding gallantry, but 
to become much more widely celebrated. While the divis- 
ion was lying along the Cumberland in May, Captain Hines 
had been sent to Clinton county with the men of the Ninth 
Kentucky, whose horses were especially unserviceable, to 
place them where with good feeding, rest and attention the 
stock might be recruited — to establish, in other words, what 
was technically known as a "convalescent camp," and in 
regimental slang, a "dead horse camp." Captain Hines es- 
tablished his camp and put it into successful operation, but 
then sought permision to undertake more active and excit- 
ing work. He was not exactly the style of man to stay 
quiet at a "convalescent camp ;" it would have been as diffi- 
cult to keep him there as to confine Napoleon to Elba, or 
force the "Wandering Jew" to remain on a cobbler's bench. 
He obtained from General Morgan an order to take such of 
his men as were best mounted, and scout "north of the Cum- 
berland." He, therefore, selected thirty or forty of his 
"convalescents" whose horses were able to hobble, and 
crossed the river with them. Immediately exchanging his 
crippled horses for good, sound ones, he commenced a very 
pleasant and adventurous career which lasted for some 
weeks. He attacked and harassed the marching columns of 
the enemy and kept the smaller garrisons constantly in fear, 
and moved about with such celerity that there was no get- 
ting at him, occasionally interluding his other occupations 
by catching and burning a railroad train. He once came 
very near being entirely destroyed. The enemy succeeded, 
on one occasion, in eluding his vigilance and surprising him. 
While he and his men were peacefully bathing in a creek 
they were suddenly attacked. Several were captured and 


the rest were dispersed, but Hines collected them again in 
a day or two. 

After a while, finding Kentucky grow too warm for him 
and not wishing to return to the command to be remanded 
to the "convalescent camp," he determined to cross over into 
Indiana and try and stir up the "copperheads." He thought 
that (according to the tenor of his instructions) he had the 
right to do so. The order did not specify when he should 
return from his scout, and Indiana was certainly "north of 
the Cumberland." He accordingly crossed into Indiana — 
made his presence known to the people of the State in va- 
rious ways — and penetrated as far into the interior of the 
State as Seymour, at the junction of the Ohio and Missis- 
sippi and Cincinnati and Indianapolis Railroads. He here 
effected a junction with a body of militia greatly outnumber- 
ing him, which induced him to retrace his steps rapidly to 
the Ohio (which he recrossed) and arrived at Brandenburg 
on the very day that we got there. We found him leaning 
against the side of the wharf-boat, with sleepy, melancholy 
look — apparently the most listless, inoffensive youth that 
was ever imposed upon. I do not know what explanation 
he made General Morgan of the lively manner in which he 
had acted under his orders, but it seemed to be perfectly sat- 
isfactory, and he was ordered to report to Colonel Morgan 
to assume the position left vacant by the wounding of Cap- 
tain Franks. 

Just before the crossing of the river was commenced an 
unexpected fusillade was delivered, from the Indiana shore, 
upon the men who showed themselves in the little town and 
upon the boats, which was soon followed by the sharp re- 
port of a rifled-cannon. The river at this point is some 
twelve hundred or more yards wide, and the musketry 
produced no effect. The shell, however, from the piece of 
artillery pitched into a group on the river bank, scattering it 
and wounding Captain Wilson, quartermaster of the first 
brigade. The mist, hanging thick over the river, had pre- 
vented us from seeing the parties who directed this firing 
take position. Soon the mist lifted, or was dispersed by the 


bright sun, and disclosed a squad of combatants posted be- 
hind one or two small houses, a clump of hay stacks, and 
along the brink of the river on the other side. Apparently, 
from the mixture of uniforms and plain clothes which could 
be discovered by the glass, this force was composed of mili- 
tia and some regular troops. Several shots were fired from 
the gun while we were getting our pieces in readiness to re- 
ply; but as soon as Lawrence opened upon them with his 
Parrotts a manifest disposition to retire was evinced by our 
friends who had shown themselves so anxious to give us a 
warm and early welcome. They attempted to carry the 
piece of artillery off with them, but were induced by Law- 
rence to relinquish it. 

Leaving the piece, they fell back to a wooded ridge five 
or six hundred yards from the river bank and parallel with 
it. The Second Kentucky and Ninth Tennessee were imme- 
diately put across the river, leaving their horses on the Ken- 
tucky shore, and were formed under the bluff bank. As 
they ascended the bank they were greeted by a volley from 
the enemy, which did no damage, and Colonel Ward and 
Major Webber at once pressed on toward the ridge. Scarce- 
ly had the steamers returned, and while yet the two regi- 
ments on the other side were moving across the open fields 
between the river and the ridge, when a small boat which 
had for some minutes been in sight, steaming rapidly down 
the river, began to take part in the affair. We had watched 
her with great interest, and were inclined to think from her 
bold unhesitating advance that she was a river gunboat, and 
when she came within a mile of the town all doubts upon 
the subject were dispelled. Suddenly checking her way, she 
tossed her snub nose defiantly, like an angry beauty of the 
coal-pits, and commenced to scold. A bluish-white, funnel- 
shaped cloud spouted out from her left-hand bow and a shot 
flew at the town, and then changing front forward she 
snapped a shell at the men on the other side. The ridge was 
soon gained by the regiments, however, the enemy not re- 
maining to contest it, and they were sheltered by it from 
the gun-boat's fire. I wish I were sufficienty master of nau- 


tical phraseology to do justice to this little vixen's style of 
fighting, but I can not venture to attempt it. She was 
boarded up tightly with tiers of heavy oak planking, in 
which embrasures were cut for the guns, of which she car- 
ried three bronze twelve-pounder howitzers. Captain 
Byrnes transferred the two Parrotts to an eminence just 
upon the river and above the town, and answered her fire. 
His solid shot skipped about her in close proximity and his 
shells burst close to her but none seemed to touch her — al- 
though it was occasionally hard to tell whether she was hit or 
not. This duel was watched with breathless interest by the 
whole division ; the men crowded in intense excitement upon 
the bluffs near the town to witness it, and General Morgan 
exhibited an emotion he rarely permitted to be seen, for if 
the gunboat were not driven away, the crossing could not be 
effected. Two of his best regiments were separated from 
him by the broad river and were dismounted, a condition 
which always appeals to a cavalryman's strongest sympa- 
thies; they might at any moment, he feared, be attacked 
by overwhelming forces, for he did not know what was upon 
the other side or how large a swarm Hines had stirred up 
in the hornet's nest. He himself might be attacked, if de- 
layed too long, by the enemy that he well knew must be fol- 
lowing his track. Independently of all considerations of 
immediate danger, he was impatient at delay and anxious 
to try his fortune in the new field he had selected. There 
were many with him who could appreciate his feelings. 

Behind us two broad States separated us from our friends 
— a multitude of foes, although we thought little of them, 
were gathering in our rear. On the other side of the great 
river were our comrades needing our aid, perhaps never to 
be received. When we, too, were across, we would stand 
face to face with the hostile and angry North — an immense 
and infuriated population and a soldiery outnumbering us 
twenty to one would confront us. Telegraph lines tracing 
the country in every direction would tell constantly of our 
movements; railways would bring assailants against us 
from every quarter, and we would have to run this gauntlet, 


night and day, without rest or one moment of safety for 
six hundred miles. As we looked on the river rolling before 
us, we felt that it divided us from a momentous future and 
were eager to learn our fate. After an hour perhaps had 
elapsed, but which seemed a dozen, the gunboat backed out 
and steamed up the river. The boats were put to work 
again, without a moment's delay, to ferry the command 
over. First, the horses of the men on the other side were 
carried to them, affording them exquisite gratification. 
Although no time was lost and the boats were of good ca- 
pacity, it was nearly dark before the first brigade was all 
across. The gunboat returned about 5 P M., accompanied 
by a consort, but a few shots from the Parrotts, which had 
been kept in position, drove them away without any inter- 
mission having occurred in the ferriage. The second brig- 
ade and the artillery were gotten across by midnight. One 
of the boats, which was in government employ, was burned ; 
the other was released. 

The first brigade encamped that night about six miles 
from the river. "A great fear" had fallen upon the inhabi- 
tants of that part of the State of Indiana. They had left 
their houses with open doors and unlocked larders and had 
fled to the thickets and "caves of the hills." At the house 
at which I stopped every thing was just in the condition in 
which the fugitive owners had left it, an hour or two before. 
A bright fire was blazing upon the kitchen hearth, bread half 
made up was in the tray, and many indications convinced us 
that we had interrupted preparations for supper. The 
chickens were strolling before the door with a confidence 
that was touching but misplaced. General Morgan rode up 
soon afterward, and was induced to "stop all night." We 
completed the preparations, so suddenly abandoned, and 
made the best show for Indiana hospitality that was possible 
under the disturbing circumstances. 

On the next day, the 9th, the division marched at an 
early hour, the second brigade in advance. At the little 
town of Corydon Colonel Morgan's advance guard found a 
body of militia posted behind rail barricades. He charged 

morgan's cavalry. 321 

them, but they resolutely defended their rail piles, killing 
and wounding several men, among the latter Lieutenant 
Thorpe of Company A, Second Kentucky, Colonel Mor- 
gan's acting adjutant and a very fine young officer. A dem- 
onstration was made upon the flank of the enemy, by one 
regiment of the second brigade, and Colonel Morgan again 
advanced upon their front; when, not understanding such 
a fashion of fighting upon two or three sides at once, the 
militia broke and ran with great rapidity, into the town, 
their progress accelerated (as they got fairly into the 
streets) by a shot dropped among them from one of the 

Passing through Corydon, we took the Salem road and 
encamped some sixteen or eighteen miles from the latter 
place. On the morning of the 10th we set out for Salem. 
Major Webber was ordered to take the advance and let 
nothing stop him. He accordingly put his regiment at the 
head of the column and struck out briskly. Lieutenant 
Welsh, of Company K, had the extreme advance with twelve 
men. As he neared Salem, he saw the enemy forming to 
receive him and, without hesitation, dashed in among them. 
The party he attacked was about one hundred and fifty 
strong, but badly armed and perfectly raw, and he quickly 
routed them. He pursued as they fled, and soon, supported 
by Captain W J. Jones' company, drove them pell-mell into 
the town. Here some two or three hundred more were col- 
lected, but, as the Second Kentucky came pouring upon 
them they fled in haste, scattering their guns in the streets. 
A small swivel, used by the younger population of Salem 
to celebrate Christmas and the Fourth of July, had been 
planted to receive us : about eighteen inches long, it was 
loaded to the muzzle and mounted in the public square by 
being propped against a stick of fire wood. It was not fired, 
however, for the man deputed to perform that important 
duty, somewhat astounded by the sudden dash into the town, 
dropped the coal of fire with which he should have touched 
it off and before he could get another the rebels captured the 


A short halt was made in Salem to feed men and horses, 
and during that time several railroad bridges were burned. 
The provost guard had great difficulty in restraining the 
men from pillaging, and was unsuccessful in some instances. 
The men seemed actuated by a desire to "pay off" in the 
"enemy's country" all scores that the Federal army had 
chalked up in the South. The great cause for apprehension 
which our situation might have inspired seemed only to 
make them reckless. Calico was the staple article of appro- 
priation ; each man who could get one tied a bolt of it to his 
saddle, only to throw it away and get a fresh one at the first 
opportunity. They did not pillage with any sort of method 
or reason ; it seemed to be a mania, senseless and purpose- 
less. One man carried a bird-cage, with three canaries in 
it, for two days. Another rode with a chafing-dish, which 
looked like a small metallic coffin, on the pummel of his 
saddle until an officer forced him to throw it away. Al- 
though the weather was intensely warm, another slung seven 
pairs of skates around his neck. I saw very few articles of 
real value taken ; they pillaged like boys robbing an orchard. 
I would not have believed that such a passion could have 
been developed so ludicrously among any body of civilized 
men. At Piketon, Ohio, some days later, one man broke 
through the guard posted at a store, rushed in (trembling 
with excitement and avarice) and filled his pockets with 
horn buttons. They would with few exceptions throw away 
their plunder after awhile, like children tired of their toys. 

Leaving Salem at i or 2 o'clock we marched rapidly and 
steadily. At nightfall we reached Vienna, on the Indian- 
apolis and Jeffersonville railroad. General Morgan ascer- 
tained that orders had been issued to the militia to fell tim- 
ber and blockade all of the roads we would be likely to 
travel ; our rapid marching had, hitherto, saved us this an- 
noyance. That night we went into camp near Lexington, 
a little place six or seven miles from Vienna. We moved at 
an early hour on the road to Paris. Colonel Smith was de- 
tached to feint against Madison, in order to hold there 
troops who might prove troublesome if they came out. The 


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morgan's cavalry. 3 2 3 

division moved quietly through Paris, and in the afternoon 
arrived in sight of Vernon. Here Colonel Smith rejoined 
us. A strong force was posted in Vernon which General 
Morgan did not care to attack. Fortunately, there were 
men in the command who knew the country and the General 
was enabled to carry the division around the place to the 
Dupont road. Skirmishers were thrown out on the road 
leading into Vernon, and also upon the other road, while 
this movement was being executed. General Morgan sent 
a demand for the surrender of the place, which was de- 
clined, but the officer commanding asked two hours to re- 
move the noncombatants, which reasonable request General 
Morgan granted. Humane considerations are never inop- 
portune. By the time that the noncombatants were safely 
removed, the column had become straightened out on the 
new road and the skirmishers, after they had burned a 
bridge or two, were withdrawn. 

The fatigue of the marches from the date of the crossing 
of the Ohio to the period of the close of the raid was tre- 
mendous. We had marched hard in Kentucky, but we now 
averaged twenty-one hours in the saddle. Passing through 
Dupont a little after daylight a new feature in the practice 
of appropriation was developed. A large meat packing es- 
tablishment was in this town, and each man had a ham 
slung at his saddle. There was no difficulty at any time in 
supplying men and horses in either Indiana or Ohio; forage 
and provisions were to be had in abundance, stop where we 
would. There is a custom prevailing in those States which 
is of admirable assistance to invading soldiery, and should 
be encouraged — a practice of baking bread once a week in 
large quantities. The people were still laboring under ap- 
prehensions regarding us, and it was a rare thing to see an 
entire family remaining at home. The men met us oftener 
in their capacity of militia than at their houses, and the 
"Copperheads" and "Vallandinghammers" fought harder 
than the others. Wherever we passed, bridges and depots, 
water-tanks, etc., were burned and railroads torn up, but I 
knew of but one private dwelling burned upon the entire 


raid, and we were fired upon from that one. The country, 
for the most part, was in a high state of cultivation, and 
magnificent crops of wheat, especially, attracted our notice 
on all sides. 

What was peculiarly noticeable, however, to men who 
were fighting against these people and just from thinned out 
"Dixie," was the dense population apparently untouched by 
the demands of the war. The country was full, the towns 
were full, and the ranks of the militia were full. I am sat- 
isfied that we saw often as many as ten thousand militia in 
one day, posted at different points. They would frequently 
fight, if attacked in strong position, but could be dispersed 
by maneuvering. Had they assailed us as the fierce Ken- 
tucky Home Guards would have done, if collected in such 
numbers, we could not have forced our way through them. 

Colonel Grigsby was detached with his regiment to press 
on and burn the bridges near Versailles. He dashed into 
the town, where several hundred militia were collected de- 
vising the best means of defending the place, and broke up 
the council. He captured a large number of horses, rather 
better stock than had hitherto been procured in Indiana. 
Marching on steadily all day and the greater part of the 
next night, we reached a point on the Ohio and Mississippi 
road twenty-five miles from Harrison, called Summansville. 
Here twenty-five hundred militia lay loaded in box cars. 
We halted to rest, and, unconscious of our presence, al- 
though we were close upon them, they moved off in the 
morning toward Cincinnati. Moving at 5 A. M., we reached 
Harrison by 1 o'clock of the 13th. Here General Morgan 
began to maneuver for the benefit of the commanding officer 
at Cincinnati. He took it for granted (for it was utterly 
impossible, moving as rapidly as we were forced to do, and 
in the midst of a strange and hostile population, to get posi- 
tive information regarding any matter) that there was a 
strong force of regular troops in Cincinnati. Burnsides had 
them not far off, and General Morgan supposed that they 
would, of course, be brought there. If we could get past 
Cincinnati safely the danger of the expedition, he thought, 


would be more than half over. Here he expected to be con- 
fronted by the concentrated forces of Judah and Burnsides, 
and he anticipated great difficulty in eluding or cutting his 
way through them. Once safely through this peril, his es- 
cape would be certain, unless the river remained so high that 
the transports could carry troops to intercept him at the 
upper crossings. The cavalry following in his rear could 
not overtake him as long as he kept in motion, and the in- 
fantry could not be transported so rapidly by rail to the 
eastern part of the State that it could be concentrated in 
sufficient strength to stop him. His object, therefore, enter- 
taining these views and believing that the great effort to 
capture him would be made as he crossed the Hamilton and 
Dayton railroad, was to deceive the enemy as to the exact 
point where he would cross this road and denude that point 
as much as possible of troops. He sent detachments in vari- 
ous directions, seeking, however, to create the impression 
that he was marching to Hamilton. 

After two or three hours' halt at Harrison, the division 
moved directly toward Cincinnati, the detachments coming 
in in the course of that afternoon. Hoping that his previous 
demonstration would induce the sending of the bulk of the 
troops up the road, and that if they were left at Cincinnati 
his subsequent threatening movements would cause them to 
draw into the city, remain on the defensive and permit him 
to pass around it without attacking him, he sought to ap- 
proach the city as nearly as possible without entering it and 
involving his command in a fight with any garrison which 
might be there. He has been sometimes accused of a lack 
of enterprise in not capturing Cincinnati. It must be re- 
membered that Cincinnati was not the objective point of this 
raid; it was not undertaken to capture that city. General 
Morgan knew nothing, and, in the nature of things, could 
know nothing of the condition of affairs in the city, or 
whether it was weakly or strongly garrisoned. 

Starting that morning from a point fifty miles distant 
from Cincinnati and reaching the vicinity of the city after 
nightfall, he must have possessed more than human means 

326 morgan's cavalry. 

of obtaining intormation had he known these things then. 
Moreover, of the twenty-four hundred and sixty effectives 
with which he had started he had not two thousand left. 
He could get fights enough to employ this force handsomely 
without running into a labyrinth of streets and among 
houses (each one of which might be made a fortification), 
with the hope that the town might be unoccupied with 
troops, or that it might be surrendered. 

The men in our ranks were worn down and demoralized 
with the tremendous fatigue which no man can realize or 
form the faintest conception of until he has experienced it. 
It is as different from the fatigue of an ordinary long 
march, followed by some rest, as the pain given by an hour's 
deprivation of water is unlike the burning, rabid thirst of 
fever. Had the city been given up to us and had the least 
delay occurred in getting boats with which to cross the river, 
the men would have scattered to all quarters of the city, and 
twenty-four hours might have been required to collect them. 
In that time the net would have been drawn around us. 
But it must be borne in mind (independently of all these 
considerations) that General Morgan had given himself a 
particular work to accomplish. He determined, as has been 
stated, to traverse Ohio. 

To have recrossed the river at Cincinnati would have 
shortened the raid by many days, have released the troops 
pursuing us, and have abandoned the principal benefits to 
be derived from the expedition. 

In this night march around Cincinnati we met with the 
greatest difficulty in keeping the column together. The 
guides were all in front with General Morgan, who rode at 
the head of the second brigade, then marching in advance. 
This brigade had no trouble consequently But the first 
brigade was embarrassed beyond measure. Cluke's regi- 
ment was marching in the rear of the second brigade, and if 
it had kept closed up the entire column would have been di- 
rected by the guides. But this regiment, although unsur- 
passed in fighting qualities, had, from the period of its or- 
ganization, been under lax and careless discipline and the 


effect of it was now observable. The rear companies 
straggled, halted, delayed the first brigade, for it was im- 
possible to ascertain immediately whether the halt was that 
of the brigade in advance, or only of these stragglers, and 
when forced to move on would go off at a gallop. A great 
gap would be thus opened between the rear of one brigade 
and the advance of the other, and we who were behind were 
forced to grope our way as we best could. When we would 
come to one of the many junctions of roads which occur in 
the suburbs of a large city, we would be compelled to consult 
all sorts of indications in order to hit upon the right road. 
The night was intensely dark and we would set on fire large 
bundles of paper, or splinters of wood to afford a light. The 
horses' tracks (on roads so much traveled) would give us 
no clue to the route which the other brigade had taken, but 
we could trace it by noticing the direction in which the dust 
"settled," or floated. When the night is calm the dust 
kicked up by the passage of a large number of horses will 
remain suspended in the air for a considerable length of 
time, and it will also move slowly in the same direction that 
the horses have traveled. We could also trace the column 
by the slaver dropped from the horses' mouths. It was a 
terrible, trying march. Strong men fell out of their saddles, 
and at every halt the officers were compelled to move con- 
tinually about in their respective companies and arouse the 
men who would drop asleep in the road. Quite a number 
crept off into the fields and slept until they were awakened 
by the enemy. The rear of the first brigade was prevented 
from going to pieces, principally by the energetic exertions 
of Colonel Grigsby. Major Steele was sent in the extreme 
advance to drive pickets, scouts, and all parties of the enemy 
which might be abroad from the road. He was given a 
picked body of men and executed the mission in fine style. 

At length day appeared, just as we reached the last point 
where we had to anticipate danger. We had passed through 
Glendale and across all of the principal suburban roads, and 
were near the Little Miami railroad. Those who have 
marched much at night will remember that the fresh air of 

328 morgan's cavalry. 

morning almost invariably has a cheering effect upon the 
tired and drowsy men and awakens and invigorates them. 
It had this effect upon our men on this occasion, and relieved 
us also from the necessity of groping our way. 

We crossed the railroad without meeting with opposition, 
and halted to feed the horses in sight of Camp Dennison. 
After a short rest here and a picket skirmish, we resumed 
our march, burning in this neighborhood a pack of Govern- 
ment wagons. That evening at 4 P M. we were at Wil- 
liamsburg, twenty-eight miles east of Cincinnati, having 
marched, since leaving Summansville in Indiana, in a period 
of about thirty-five hours, more than ninety miles. 

Feeling comparatively safe here, General Morgan per- 
mitted the division to go into camp and remain during the 
night. One great drawback upon our marches was the in- 
feriority of the Indiana and Ohio horses for such service 
After parting with our Kentucky stock, the men were com- 
pelled to exchange constantly, sometimes three or four times 
in twenty-four hours. The horses obtained were not only 
unable to endure the hard marching, but they were unshod 
and grew lame directly 

After leaving Williamsburg, we marched through Piketon 
(Colonel Morgan was sent with his regiment by way of 
Georgetown) Jackson, Vinton, Berlin and several other 
towns whose names I have forgotten, as well as the order in 
which they came. In the skirmish at Berlin, Tom Murphy, 
popularly known as the "Wild Irishman," and technically 
described by his officers as the "goingest man" in the advance 
guard, was severely wounded. Small fights with the militia 
were of daily occurrence. They hung around the column, 
wounding two or three men every day and sometimes killing 
one. We captured hundreds of them daily, but could only 
turn them loose again after destroying their guns. 

At Wilkesville we halted again before nightfall, and re- 
mained until 3 o'clock next morning. The militia, about 
this time, turned their attention seriously to felling trees, 
tearing up bridges and impeding our progress in every con- 
ceivable way. The advance guard was forced to carry axes 


to cut away the frequent blockades. In passing near Pome- 
roy on the 18th, there was one continual fight, but, now, not 
with the militia only, for some regular troops made their 
appearance and immediately took part in the program. 
The road we were traveling runs at no great distance 
from the town of Pomeroy, which is situated on the Ohio 
river. Many by-roads run from the main one into the 
town, and at the mouths of these roads we always found the 
enemy. The road runs, also, for nearly five miles through 
a ravine, with steep hills upon each side of it. These hills 
were occupied, at various points, by the enemy and we had 
to run the gauntlet. Colonel Grigsby took the lead with the 
Sixth Kentucky and dashed through at a gallop, halting 
when fired on, dismounting his men and dislodging the 
enemy and again resuming his rapid march. Major Webber 
brought up the rear of the division and held back the enemy, 
who closed eagerly upon our track. 

About 1 o'clock of that day we reached Chester and halted 
for an hour and a half, to enable the column to close up. to 
breathe the horses, and also to obtain a guide, if possible, 
General Morgan declaring that he would no longer march 
without one. That halt proved disastrous ; it brought us to 
Buffington ford after night had fallen and delayed our at- 
tempt at crossing until the next morning. 

Before quitting Ohio, it is but just to acknowledge the 
kind hospitality of these last two days. At every house that 
we approached, the dwellers thereof themselves absent, per- 
haps, unable to endure a meeting that would have been pain- 
ful, had left warm pies, freshly baked, upon the tables. This 
touching attention to our tastes was appreciated. Some in- 
dividuals were indelicate enough to hint that the pies were 
intended to propitiate us and prevent the plunder of the 

We reached Portland, a little village upon the bank of the 
river and a short distance above Buffington Island, about 8 
P M., and the night was one of solid darkness. General 
Morgan was in doubt as to the policy of at once attacking 
an earthwork, thrown up to guard the ford. From all the 


information he could gather, this work was manned with 
about three hundred infantry— regular troops — and two 
heavy guns were mounted in it. Our arrival at this place 
after dark had involved us in a dilemma. If we did not 
cross the river that night, there was every chance of our 
being attacked on the next day by heavy odds. The troops 
we had seen at Pomeroy we at once and correctly conjec- 
tured to be a portion of the infantry which had been sent 
after us from Kentucky, and they had been brought by the 
river, which had risen several feet in the previous week, to 
intercept us. If transports could pass Pomeroy, the General 
knew that they could also run up to the bar at Bufhngton 
Island. The transports would certainly be accompanied by 
gunboats, and our crossing could be prevented by the latter 
alone because our artillery ammunition was nearly exhausted 
— there was not more than three cartridges to the piece — 
and we could not have driven off gunboats with small arms. 
Moreover, if it was necessary, the Federal troops could 
march from Pomeroy to Bufhngton by an excellent road, 
and reach the latter place in the morning. General Morgan 
fully appreciated these reasons for getting across the river 
that night, as did those with whom he advised; but there 
were, also, very strong reasons against attacking the work 
at night ; and without the capture of the work, which com- 
manded the ford, it would be impossible to cross. The 
night, as I have stated, was intensely dark. Attacks in the 
dark are always hazardous experiments; in this case it 
would have been doubly so. We knew nothing of the 
ground and could not procure guides. Our choice of the di- 
rection in which to move to the attack would have been 
purely guess work. The defenders of the work had only to 
lie still and fire with artillery and musketry directly in their 
front, but the assailants would have had a line to preserve, 
and would have had to exercise great care lest they should 
fall foul of each other in the obscurity. If this is a difficult 
business at all times, how much is the danger and trouble 
increased when it is attempted with broken-down and par- 
tially demoralized men? 


General Morgan feared, too, that if the attacking party 
was repulsed, it would come back in such disorder and panic 
that the whole division would be seriously and injuriously 
affected. He determined, therefore, to take the work at 
early dawn and instantly commence the crossing, trusting 
that it would be effected rapidly and before the enemy ar- 
rived. By abandoning the long train of wagons which had 
been collected, the wounded men and the artillery, a cross- 
ing might have been made higher up the river at deeper 
fords, which we could have reached by a rapid march before 
the enemy came near them. But General Morgan was de- 
termined (after having already hazarded so much) to save 
all if possible, at the risk of losing all. He ordered me to 
place two regiments of my brigade in position as near the 
earthwork as I thought proper, and attack it at daybreak. 
I accordingly selected the Fifth and Sixth Kentucky, and 
formed them about four hundred yards from the work, or 
from the point where I judged it to be located. Lieutenant 
Lawrence was also directed to place his Parrotts upon a 
tongue of land projecting northward from a range of hills 
running parallel with the river. It was intended that he 
should assist the attacking party, if, for any reason, artillery 
should be needed. Many efforts were made during the 
night to find other fords, but unsuccessfully. 

As soon as the day dawned the Fifth and Sixth Ken- 
tucky were moved against the work, and found it unoccu- 
pied. It had been evacuated during the night. Had our 
scouts posted to observe it been vigilant, and had this evac- 
uation, which occurred, as we afterwards learned, about 2 
P M., been discovered and reported, we might have gotten 
almost the entire division across before the troops coming 
from Pomeroy arrived. The guns in the work had been 
dismounted and rolled over the bluff. I immediately sent 
General Morgan information of the evacuation of the work, 
and instructed Colonel Smith to take command of the two 
regiments and move some four or five hundred yards farther 
on the Pomeroy road, by which I supposed that the garrison 
had retreated. In a few minutes I heard the rattle of mus- 


ketry in the direction that the regiments had moved, and 
riding forward to ascertain what occasioned it found that 
Colonel Smith had unexpectedly come upon a Federal force 
advancing upon this road. He attacked and dispersed it, 
taking forty or fifty prisoners and a piece of artillery, and 
killing and wounding fifteen or twenty. This force turned 
out to be General Judah's advance guard, and his command 
was reported to be eight or ten thousand strong,* and not 
far off. Among the wounded was one of his staff, and his 
adjutant-general was captured. I instructed Colonel Smith 
to bring the men back to the ground where they had been 
formed to attack the work, and rode myself to consult Gen- 
eral Morgan and receive his orders. He instructed me to 
hold the enemy in check and call for such troops as I might 
need for that purpose. This valley which we had entered 
the night before, and had bivouacked in, was about a mile 
long and perhaps eight hundred yards wide at the southern 
extremity (the river runs here nearly due north and south) 
and gradually narrows toward the other end until the ridge, 
which is its western boundary, runs to the water's edge. 
This ridge is parallel with the river at the southern end of 
the valley, but a few hundred yards further to the north- 
ward both river and ridge incline toward each other. About 
half way of the valley (equidistant from either end) the 
road, by which we had marched from Chester, comes in. 

Colonel Smith had posted his men, in accordance with 
directions given him, at the southern extremity of the valley 
with the ridge upon his right flank. At this point the ridge, 
I should also state, bends almost at right angles to the west- 
ward. As I returned from consultation with General Mor- 
gan, I found both of the regiments under Colonel Smith in 
full retreat. When the main body of the enemy (which was 
now close upon us) appeared, an order had been issued by 
some one to "rally to horses." While doing this, the line 
was charged by Judah's cavalry, of which he had three regi- 
ments. A detachment of the Fifth Indiana (led by a very 
gallant officer, Lieutenant O'Neil) headed this charge. The 

* It was not nearly so strong as that on the field. 


men rallied and turned, as soon as called on to do so, and 
had no difficulty in driving back the cavalry, but a portion 
of the Fifth Kentucky was cut off by this charge and did 
not take part in the fight which succeeded. These two regi- 
ments were not more than two hundred and fifty strong 
each, and they were dismounted again and formed across the 
valley. The Parrott guns had v been captured, and, although 
our line was formed close to them, they were not retaken. 
I sent several couriers to General Morgan, asking for the 
Second Kentucky, a portion of which I wished to post upon 
the ridge, and I desired to strengthen the thin, weak line 
with the remainder. Colonel Johnson's rear videttes (still 
kept during the night upon the Chester road) had a short 
time previously been driven in, and he had formed his bri- 
gade to receive the enemy coming from that direction. 
Colonel Johnson offered me a detachment of his own bri- 
gade with which to occupy the part of the ridge immediately 
upon my right — the necessity of holding it was immediately 
apparent to him. Believing that the Second Kentucky 
would soon arrive, I declined his offer. 

The force advancing upon the Chester road was General 
Hobson's, which our late delays had permitted to overtake 
us. Neither Judah nor Hobson was aware of the other's 
vicinity until apprised of it by the sound of their respective 
guns. We could not have defeated either alone, for Judah 
was stronger than we were and Hobson had three thousand. 
We were scarcely nineteen hundred strong, and our ammu- 
nition was nearly exhausted — either shot away or worn out 
in the cartridge-boxes. The men, had on an average not 
more than five rounds in their boxes. If, however, either 
Judah or Hobson had attacked us singly, we could have 
made good our retreat in order, and with little loss. 

The attack commenced from both directions, almost sim- 
ultaneously, and at the same time the gunboats steamed up 
and commenced shelling us without fear or favor. I heartily 
wished that their fierce ardor, the result of a feeling of per- 
fect security, could have been subjected to the test of two or 
three shots through their hulls. They were working, as 


well as I could judge, five or six guns, Hobson two, and 
Judah five or six. The shells coming thus from three dif- 
ferent directions seemed to fill the air with their fragments. 
Colonel Johnson's line, confronting Hobson, was formed 
at right angles to mine, and upon the level and unsheltered 
surface of the valley each was equally exposed to shots 
aimed at the other. In addition to the infantry deployed in 
front of my line, the ridge upon the right of it was soon 
occupied by one of the Michigan regiments, dismounted and 
deployed as skirmishers. The peculiar formation we were 
forced to adopt exposed our entire force engaged to a se- 
vere cross fire of musketry. The Second Kentucky and 
Ninth Tennessee, of the first brigade, were not engaged at 
all — nor the Eighth and Eleventh Kentucky, of the second 
brigade. These regiments, however, were as completely 
under fire, in the commencement of the action, as were the 
others which were protecting the retreat. 

The scene in the rear of the lines engaged was one of in- 
describable confusion. While the bulk of the regiments 
which General Morgan was drawing off were moving from 
the field in perfect order, there were many stragglers from 
each who were circling about the valley in a delirium of 
fright, clinging instinctively, in all their terror, to bolts of 
calico and holding on to led horses, but changing the direc- 
tion in which they galloped with every shell which whizzed 
or burst near them. The long train of wagons and ambu- 
lances dashed wildly in the only direction which promised 
escape, and becoming locked and entangled with each other ; 
in their flight many were upset, and terrified horses broke 
loose from them and plunged wildly through the mass. 
Some of them, in striving to make their way out of the val- 
ley at the northern end, ran foul of the section of howitzers 
attached to the second brigade, and guns and wagons were 
rolled headlong into the steep ravine. Occasionally a solid 
shot or shell would strike one and bowl it over like a 
tumbled ten-pin. All this shelling did little damage, and 
only some twenty-odd men were killed by the musketry and, 
perhaps, fifty or sixty wounded — the enemy lost quite as 

morgan's cavalry. 335 

many — but the display of force against us, the cross fire, 
and our lack of ammunition, seriously disheartened the men, 
already partially demoralized by the great and unremitted 

The left flank of my line, between which and the river 
there was an interval of at least three hundred yards, was 
completely turned and the Sixth Kentucky was almost sur- 
rounded. This regiment (under the command of Major 
William Bullit, an officer of the calmest and most perfect 
bravery), behaved nobly. It stood the heavy attack of the 
enemy like a bastion. At length, seeing that General Mor- 
gan had gotten out of the valley with the rest of the division, 
Colonel Johnson and myself, upon consultation, determined 
to withdraw simultaneously. We had checked this superior 
force for more than half an hour — which, as much as our 
assailants boasted of their victory, was quite as good as an 
equal number of the best of them could have done against 
such odds. 

The men were remounted without confusion, and re- 
treated in columns of fours from right of companies and for 
quite a mile in perfect order. The Sixth Kentucky formed 
to the "rear into line" three times, and kept the pursuing 
cavalry at bay- But when we neared the other end of the 
valley and saw that there were but two avenues of escape 
from it the men broke ranks and rushed for them. In a 
moment each was blocked. The gunboats sought to rake 
these roads with grape — and although they aimed too high 
to inflict much injury the hiss of the dreaded missiles in- 
creased the panic. The Federal cavalry soon came up and 
dashed pell-mell into the crowd of fugitives. Colonel Smith, 
Captain Campbell, Captain Thorpe, and myself, and some 
fifty other officers and men, were forced by the charge into 
a ravine on the left of the road and soon afterward captured. 
Captain Thorpe saved me from capture at an earlier date 
that day only to ultimately share my fate. He had acted as 
adjutant-general of the first brigade, since the detachment 
of Captain Davis, and had performed all of his duties with 
untiring assiduity and perfect efficiency. On this day there 

336 morgan's CAVALRY. 

was allowed opportunity for the display of courage only, 
and for that he was ever distinguished. 

Between six and seven hundred prisoners were taken from 
us in this fight. Among the officers captured were Colonels 
Ward and Morgan, Lieutenant-Colonel Huffman, who was 
also severely wounded, and Majors Bullock and Bullitt. 

On the next day, the 20th, we were marched down the 
river bank some ten miles to the transport which was to 
take us to Cincinnati, and she steamed off as soon as we were 
aboard of her. A portion of the Ninth Tennessee had been 
put across the river, in a small flat, before the fight fairly 
commenced, and these men, under command of Captain 
Kirkpatrick, pressed horses and made their escape. Colonel 
Grigsby and Captain Byrnes also crossed the river here, and 
succeeded in escaping. About eleven hundred men retreated 
with General Morgan, closely pursued by Hobson's cavalry 
— the indefatigable Wool ford, as usual, in the lead. Some 
three hundred of this force crossed the river at a point about 
twenty miles above Buffington. Colonel Johnson and his 
staff swam the river here and got safely ashore, with the 
exception of two or three of the latter, who were drowned 
in the attempt. 

The arrival of the gunboats prevented the entire force 
from crossing. General Morgan had gained the middle of 
the river and, having a strong horse, could have gained the 
other shore without difficulty, but seeing that the bulk of 
his command would be forced to remain on the Ohio side 
he returned to it. 

At this point, a negro boy named Box, a great favorite 
in the Second Kentucky, thorough rebel and deeply im- 
pressed with a sense of his own importance, entered the river 
and started across ; General Morgan called to him to return, 
fearing that he would be drowned. "Marse John," said 
Box, "if dey catches you, dey may parole you, but if dis 
nigger is cotched in a free State he ain't a gwine to git away 
while de war lasts." He swam the river safely although 
nearly run down by a gunboat. From this time, for six 
days, it was a continual race and scramble. That men could 

morgan's cavalry. 337 

have endured it, after the previous exhausting marches, is 
almost incredible. 

The brigades were reorganized. Colonel Cluke was placed 
in command of the second, Major Webber of the first ; each 
was a little more than four hundred strong. "The bold 
Cluke" had need of all his audacity and vigor during these 
six days of trial. It is difficult for the reader to appreciate 
the true condition in which these brave men were placed. 
Worn down by tremendous and long sustained exertion, en- 
compassed by a multitude of foes and fresh ones springing 
up in their path at every mile, allowed no rest but driven on 
night and day; attacked, harassed, intercepted at every mo- 
ment, disheartened by the disasters already suffered — how 
magnificent was the nerve, energy and resolution which en- 
abled them to bear up against all this and struggle so gal- 
lantly to the very last against capture. Major Webber had 
long been suffering from a painful and exhausting disease, 
and when he started upon the raid could not climb into his 
saddle without assistance. But he could not endure the 
thought of being absent from such an expedition. He was 
one of the very best officers in the Confederate cavalry, and 
his ideas of duty were almost fanatical. All through the 
long march to Buffington he rode at the head of the "old 
regulars," without a murmur escaping his lips to tell of the 
pain which paled his brave, manly face but could not bend 
his erect form. Of his conduct after the Buffington disaster. 
General Morgan and his comrades spoke in enthusiastic 
praise — one officer in describing his unflinching steadiness 
called him the "Iron man." 

One incident will serve to show how constantly the enemy 
pressed the command. Once, when there seemed leisure for 
it, General Morgan called a council of his officers. While 
it was in session the enemy were skirmishing with the ad- 
vance and rear guards of the column, and were upon both 
flanks. A bullet struck within two inches of the General's 
head while he was courteously listening to an opinion. 
When the council was closed General Morgan moved the 
column back toward "Blennerhassett's Island," where he 


338 morgan's cavalry. 

had previously attempted to cross the river. Clouds of dust 
marked his march (although he quitted the main road) and 
also the track of his enemies, and in that way the exact po- 
sition of all the columns was known to each. That night 
he halted with a bold mountain upon one side of him and 
the enemy on the other three. His pursuers evidently 
thought that the morning would witness his surrender, for 
they made no effort to force him to yield that evening. But 
when night had fairly fallen and the camp fires of his foes 
were burning brightly, he formed his men, partially ascended 
the mountain, stole noiselessly and in single file along its 
rough slope and by midnight was out of the trap and again 
working hard for safety. 

Here is a description from Major Webber's diary of how 
General Morgan eluded the enemy posted to ensnare him 
when he should cross the Muskingum. He had been com- 
pelled to drive off a strong force in order to obtain a cross- 
ing ; after he had crossed he found himself thus situated : 

The enemy had fallen back on all of the roads — guarding each one 
with a force in ambush much larger than ours — and to make our way 
through seemed utterly impossible; while Hobson had made his appear- 
ance with a larger force on the opposite bank of the Muskingum, so 
that to retrace our steps would be ruin. Finding every road strongly 
guarded, and every hill covered with troops, it would have been im- 
possible for any one except Morgan to have led a column out of such a 
place, and he did it by what the citizens tell us is the only place where 
a horse can go ; and that by a narrow pass leading up a spring branch 
hundreds of feet below the tops of the hills, the perpendicular sides of 
which pressed closely on our horses as we passed in single file. And 
then we went up another hill, or rather mountain side, up which nobody 
but a Morgan man could have carried a horse. Up that hill, for at least 
one thousand feet, we led our tired horses, where it seemed that a goat 
couldn't climb, until we reached the plain, and were soon in the rear of 
the enemy and on our road again. Colonel Cluke, who was in the rear, 
lost two men killed. 

In looking around for a place to carry the column, Adjutant S. F. 
McKee and two of our men ran into an ambuscade and were fired on, 
about thirty yards distant, by three hundred men, without striking 
either of them or their horses. 

But all this brave, persistent effort was unavailing. Gen- 
eral Morgan maintained his high spirit to the last, and 
seemed untouched by the weariness which bore down every 
one else; but he was forced at last to turn at bay, and a 


fresh disaster on the 26th reducing- his command to two 
hundred and fifty men, and a fresh swarm of enemies gath- 
ering around this remnant, left him no alternative (in jus- 
tice to his men) but surrender. I may be permitted to men- 
tion (with natural pride), that the last charge made upon 
this expedition was by Company C of my old regiment, the 
Second Kentucky, the "Regulars." This company had 
maintained its organization and discipline without any de- 
terioration, although greatly reduced in numbers. In this 
last fight it was ordered to charge a body of Federal cavalry, 
who were dismounted and lay behind a worm fence, firing 
upon the column with their Spencer rifles. Led by its gal- 
lant Captain Ralph Sheldon, one of the best of our best offi- 
cers, this company dashed down upon the enemy. The tired 
horses breasted the fence without being able to clear it, 
knocking off the top rails. But with their deadly revolvers 
our boys soon accomplished the mission upon which they 
were sent. 

General Morgan surrendered in a very peculiar manner. 
He had, many days before, heard of the retreat of General 
Lee, after Gettysburg, from Pennsylvania and of the fall of 
Vicksburg. In at least twenty towns through which we had 
passed we had witnessed evidences of the illuminations in 
honor of these events. He feared that in consequence of the 
great excess of prisoners thus coming into Federal posses- 
sion, the cartel (providing for the exchange of prisoners and 
the paroling of the excess upon either side, within a short 
period after their capture) would be broken. He was 
anxious, therefore, to surrender "upon terms." Aware that 
he was not likely to get such terms as he wished from any 
officer of the regular troops that were pursuing him, unless 
he might happen to hit upon Woolford, who was as noted 
for generosity to prisoners (if he respected their prowess) 
as for vigor and gallantry in the field, he looked around for 
some militia officer who might serve his turn. In the ex- 
treme eastern part of Ohio (where he now was) he came 
into the "district" of a Captain Burbeck who had his militia 
under arms. General Morgan sent a message to Captain 


Burbeck, under flag of truce, requesting an interview 
with him. Burbeck consented to meet him, and, after a 
short conference, General Morgan concluded a treaty with 
him by which he (Morgan) engaged to take and disturb 
nothing and do no sort of damage in Burbeck's district; 
and Burbeck, on his part, covenanted to guide and escort 
Morgan to the Pennsylvania line. After riding a few miles, 
side by side, with his host, General Morgan, espying a long 
cloud of dust rolling rapidly upon a course parallel with his 
own (about a mile distant) and gaining his front, thought it 
was time to act. So he interrupted a pleasant conversation, 
by suddenly asking Burbeck how he would like to receive 
his (Morgan's) surrender. Burbeck answered that it 
would afford him inexpressible gratification to do so. 
"But," said Morgan, "perhaps you would not give me such 
terms as I wish." "General Morgan," replied Burbeck, 
"you may write your own terms and I will grant them." 
"Very well, then," said Morgan; "it is a bargain. I will 
surrender to you." He, accordingly, formally surrendered 
f o Captain Burbeck, of the Ohio militia, upon condition that 
officers and men were to be paroled, the latter retaining their 
horses, and the former horses and side-arms. 

When General Shackelford (Hobson's second in com- 
mand, and the officer who was conducting the pursuit in that 
immediate region) arrived, he at once disapproved this ar- 
rangement and took measures to prevent its being carried 
into effect. Some officers, who had once been Morgan's 
prisoners, were anxious that it should be observed, and 
Woolford generously interested himself to have it done. 
The terms of this surrender were not carried out. The 
cartel (as Morgan had anticipated) had been repudiated, 
and the terms for which he had stipulated, under that appre- 
hension, were repudiated also. 

Although this expedition resulted disastrously, it was, 
even as a failure, incomparably the most brilliant raid of the 
entire war. The purposes sought to be achieved by it were 
grander and more important, the conception of the plan 
which should regulate it was more masterly, and the skill 

morgan's cavalry. 341 

with which it was conducted is unparalleled in the history 
of such affairs. 

It was no ride across a country stripped of troops, with a 
force larger than any it should chance to encounter. 

It was not an expedition started from a point impregna- 
bly garrisoned, to dash by a well marked path to another 
point occupied by a friendly army. It differed from even 
the boldest of Confederate raids, not only in that it was 
vastly more extended, but also in the nerve with which the 
great natural obstacles were overcome, and the unshrinking 
audacity with which that slight force penetrated into a popu- 
lous and intensely hostile territory, and confidently exposed 
itself to such tremendous odds and overwhelming disadvan- 
tages. Over one hundred thousand men were in arms to 
capture Morgan, and every advantage in the way of trans- 
porting troops, obtaining information and disposing forces 
to intercept or oppose him, was possessed by his enemy, and 
yet his wily strategy enabled him to reach the river at the 
very point where he had contemplated recrossing it when he 
started from Tennessee ; and he was prevented from recross- 
ing and effecting his escape (which would then have been 
certain) only by the river having risen at a season at which 
it had not risen for more than twenty years before. 

The objects of the raid were accomplished. General 
Bragg's retreat was unmolested by any flanking forces of 
the enemy, and I think that military men, who will review 
all the facts, will pronounce that this expedition delayed 
for weeks the fall of east Tennessee and prevented the 
timely reinforcement of Rosecrans by troops that would 
otherwise have participated in the battle of Chickamauga. 
It destroyed Morgan's division, however, and left but a 
remnant of the Morgan cavalry. The companies in Ken- 
tucky became disintegrated — the men were either captured 
or so dispersed that few were ever again available. Two fine 
companies of the Ninth Tennessee, under Captains Kirk- 
patrick and Sisson, crossed the river at Buffington; two 
companies of the Second Kentucky, under Captains Lea and 
Cooper, effected a crossing a day or two later. Besides 


these organized bodies of men, there were stragglers from 
all the regiments to the number of three or four hundred, 
who escaped. These men were collected by Colonels John- 
son and Grigsby, and marched through Western Virginia 
to Morristown, in east Tennessee, where all that was left 
of Morgan's command was rendezvoused. Our entire loss 
in killed and wounded on the raid was a little more than 
three hundred. 

Although the consequences were so disastrous, although 
upon the greater part of those who followed Morgan in this 
raid was visited a long, cruel, wearisome imprisonment, 
there are few, I imagine, among them who ever regretted it. 
It was a sad infliction upon a soldier, especially upon one 
accustomed to the life the "Morgan men" had led, to eat his 
heart in the tedious, dreary prison existence, while the fight 
which he should have shared was daily growing deadlier. 
But to have, in our turn, been invaders, to have carried the 
war north of the Ohio, to have taught the people, who for 
long months had been pouring invading hosts into the 
South, something of the agony and terror of invasion — to 
have made them fly in fear from their homes although they 
returned to find those homes not laid in ashes; to have 
scared them with the sound of hostile bugles, although no 
signals were sounded for flames and destruction — these 
luxuries were cheap at almost any price. It would have 
been an inexpiable shame if, in all the Confederate army, 
there had been no body of men found to carry the war, 
however briefly, across the Ohio, and Morgan by this raid 
saved us, at least, that disgrace. 

One of the many articles which filled the Northern papers 
upon the disastrous termination of this expedition, prophet- 
ically declared the true misfortune which would result to 
Morgan himself from his ill-success, to-wit : the loss of his 
unexampled prestige — hitherto of itself a power adequate to 
ensure him victories, but never to be recovered. This writer, 
more sagacious as well as more fair than others of his class, 

The raid through Indiana and Ohio has proved an unfortunate busi- 
ness to him and his command. His career hitherto has been dashing 

morgan's cavalry. 343 

and brilliant, and but few rebel commanders had won a higher reputa- 
tion throughout the South. He had been glorified by rebels in arms 
everywhere, but this last reckless adventure will doubtless rob his name 
of half its potency. The prestige of success is all powerful, while a 
failure is death to military reputation. It would now be a difficult 
matter to rally to his standard as many enthusiastic and promising young 
men, who infatuated and misguided, joined him during the period of his 
success. Many of them blindly seemed to entertain the opinion that no 
reverse could befall him, and all he had to do was to march along, and 
victory after victory would perch upon his banner. They couldn't even 
dream of a disaster or an end to his triumphs. Many of them have 
already sadly and dearly paid for their infatuation, while others are 
doomed to a similar fate. This remarkable raid, certainly the most 
daring of the war, is about at an end. Morgan is trapped at last and his 
forces scattered, and if he escapes himself it will only be as a fugitive. 
The race he has run since crossing the Cumberland river, eluding the 
thousands of troops which have been put upon his track, proved him a 
leader of extraordinary ability. The object of the raid is yet a mystery. 
Time alone will develop the plan, if plan there was. Moving on with 
such a force, far from all support — at the very time, too, that Bragg's 
army was falling back and scattering — makes the affair look like one of 
simple bravado, as if the leader was willing to be captured, provided he 
could end his career in a blaze of excitement created by his dash and 
daring. But it is useless to speculate now. Broken into squads, some 
few of his men will doubtless escape across the river, and make their 
way singly to the Confederacy, to tell the story of their long ride 
through Indiana and Ohio; but the power of the noted partisan chief- 
tain and his bold riders is a thing of the past. 

The prisoners taken at Buffington were carried to Cin- 
cinnati as rapidly as the speed of the little boat upon 
which we were placed would permit. We were some 
three days in making the trip. Fortunately for us, the 
officers and men appointed to guard us were disposed to 
ameliorate our condition as much as possible. Our pri- 
vate soldiers, crowded on the hurricane decks, were, of 
course, subjected to inconvenience, but the wish of the 
guards was evidently to remedy it as much as possible. 
This crowding enabled a number of them to make their 
escape by leaping into the river at night, as the sentries 
could not possibly detect or prevent their efforts at es- 
cape. Captain Day, General Judah's inspector, who was 
in immediate charge of us, while he was rigidly careful to 
guard against escape, showed us the most manly and sol- 
dierly courtesy. As the only acknowledgment we could 
make him, the officers united in requesting him to accept 


a letter which we severally signed declaring our appre- 
ciation of his kindness. We trusted that, if he should 
ever be so unfortunate as to become a prisoner himself, 
this evidence of his consideration for our situation would 
benefit him. 

It was habitually remarked that there was a prevalent 
disposition among the men of both armies who served in 
"the front," to show courtesy to prisoners. The soldiers 
who guarded us from Buffington to Cincinnati were char- 
acterized by this spirit in an unusual degree. 

When we arrived at Cincinnati, we met with a grand 
but not an agreeable ovation. Spectators pressed closely 
upon the guard of soldiers who were drawn up around 
us, as we were marched through the streets to the city 
prison, and attempted many demonstrations of their feel- 
ing toward us. There seemed to be little sympathy be- 
tween the soldiers and the populace. The former mut- 
tered pretty strong expressions of disgust for the pre- 
vious tameness and present boldness of the latter and 
once or twice, when jostled, plied their bayonets. The 
privates were immediately sent to Camps Morton and 
Douglass. The officers were kept at the city prison in 
Cincinnati for three days. During that time we were re- 
inforced by a good many others taken in the two or three 
days which succeeded Buffington fight. On the last day 
of our sojourn here we learned of General Morgan's cap- 
ture. We had hoped and almost felt confident that he 
would escape. 

We were removed from this prison on the 27th of July 
and taken to Johnson's Island. At every station on the 
railroad from Cincinnati to Sandusky, enthusiastic crowds 
assembled to greet us. The enthusiasm, however, was 
scarcely of a nature to excite agreeable emotions in our 
bosoms. There seemed to be a general wish for our in- 
stant and collective execution, and its propriety was pro- 
mulgated with much heat and emphasis. A change 
seemed to have come over the people of Ohio in the past 
two weeks. In our progress through the State, before 

morgan's cavalry. 345 

our capture, the people left their homes — apparently from 
a modest disinclination to see us. But now they crowded 
to stare at us. 

When we reached Sandusky we were transferred to a 
small steam tug, and in twenty minutes were put across 
the arm of the lake which separates Johnson's Island from 
the mainland. We were marched, as soon as landed, to 
the adjutant's office, and after roll-call, and a preliminary 
scrutiny to ascertain if we had money or weapons upon 
our persons, we were introduced into the prison inclo- 
sure. It was the custom, in those days, in the various 
prisons for the older inmates to collect about the gates 
of the "Bull-pen" when "Fresh fish," as every lot of pris- 
oners just arrived were termed, were brought in, and in- 
spect them. We, consequently, met a large crowd of un- 
fortunate rebels when we entered, in which were not a 
few acquaintances, and some of our own immediate com- 
rades. The first man I saw, at least, the first one to whom 
my attention was attracted, was Lieutenant Charles Don- 
egan of the Second Kentucky. He had been a private in 
the heroic Fourth Alabama, and, when his term of service 
had exired in that regiment, he "joined Morgan," becom- 
ing a private in Company A of the "Old Squadron." When 
the Second Kentucky was organized he was made a non- 
commissioned officer, and was shortly afterward promoted 
to first lieutenant for gallantry, excellent conduct, and 
strict attention to duty. In the prison he met his old 
comrades of the Army of Northern Virginia, and was 
prompt to welcome all of the "Morgan men" who "hap- 
pened in," and to initiate them in the art of making life 
in a prison endurable. A few months before, I had vis- 
ited his father and he charged me with a message to 
"Charlie," which I delivered in the barracks at Johnson's 

The Gettysburg prisoners had arrived, only a few days 
before, and from them we heard the first intelligible ac- 
count of the great battle. Not a whit was the courage 
and fire of these gallant representatives of the army of 

346 morgan's cavalry. 

heroes abated. They seemed to have perfect faith in the 
invincibility of their comrades, and they looked for the 
millennium to arrive much sooner than for serious discom- 
fiture to befall "Uncle Robert." 

Johnson's Island was the most agreeable prison I ever 
saw — which is much as if a man were to allude to the 
pleasantest dose of castor oil he ever swallowed. How- 
ever, there is little doubt but that it would have been 
pleasant (for a short time) if it had not been a prison. The 
climate in the summer is delightful, and the prospect 
highly gratifying — except to a man who would like to es- 
cape and cannot swim. The winters, there, are said to 
have been very severe — but then the barracks were open 
and airy. We, who were shortly afterward transferred to 
the Ohio Penitentiary, thought and spoke of Johnson's 
Island as (under the circumstances) a very "desirable lo- 

The prisoners at Johnson's Island were housed in frame 
barracks, each capable of accommodating forty or fifty 
inmates. They were built of long planks set on end, gen- 
erally two stories in height. Between the planks were 
interstices half an inch, perhaps, in width, so that the 
light of candles burning on the inside was plainly visible 
to those without. Bunks for the occupants were ar- 
ranged along the sides of each room. Our contingent 
was assigned to the upper story of one of these buildings, 
which was about thirty feet from the high plank fence sur- 
rounding the prison grounds and facing the parapet on 
which the sentries paced their beats. This room was pro- 
vided with a wide entrance, but no door. On the first 
night of our arrival, we were assembled in this room at 
nightfall and were permitted, according to the prison 
rules, to use candles until 9 o'clock. At that hour the sen- 
try on the nearest beat halted just in front of the open 
entrance and announced that, in compliance with the reg- 
ulations, our lights must be extinguished. Everyone at 
once blew out his candle except Captain Hines, who was 
deeply absorbed in a novel. In a short time the sentry 

morgan's cavalry. 347 

repeated his order, but Hines gave no heed to it and con- 
tinued to read. After another minute, the sentry said, 
very impressively, "I have twice notified you men to put 
out your lights, telling you it was the rule to do so at 9 
o'clock. Now I shall county twenty, and when I've fin- 
ished counting, if that light isn't out, I shall shoot into the 
room and as near the man who is burning it as I can." 
Then he began to count, but quite slowly. I was just on 
the point of calling out to Hines to blow out his candle, 
when I heard a sound which induced me to delay doing 
so. It was the creaking of a bunk, which was exactly op- 
posite the entrance and the sentry. This bunk was oc- 
cupied by a middle-aged, eccentric and very irascible lieu- 
tenant of Ward's regiment, named Leathers; and it 
seemed almost certain, because of his position, that if the 
sentry fired the ball would strike him. Therefore, I fore- 
bore to speak to Hines, as I wanted to hear what Leath- 
ers would say. After a few turns and twists in his bunk, 
Lieutenant Leathers delivered himself as follows: "Some 
men," he said, "are the d — dst fools I ever saw. Now, 
there's that gentleman out thar' on the parapet has pint- 
edly said that if that blamed candle ain't blowed out, he's 
goin' to shoot. And he's right. I ain't findin' fault with 
him, for he's got his instructions. He's bound to shoot. 
But if he does shoot," — and here his voice sank from the 
high tone of anger into a profound wail, — "if he does shoot, 
it's ten to one he kills the wrong man." There was a 
great shout of laughter, but everybody insisted that Hines 
should extinguish his candle and save Leathers's life, and 
when the sentry had reached nineteen in his count Hines 
blew out the light. 

After remaining at Johnson's Island four days, some 
forty of us were called for one morning and bidden to pre- 
pare for departure — whither we were not informed. But 
our worst fears were realized when we were taken off the 
cars at Columbus and marched to the penitentiary. It 
was rumored that Colonel Streight, an officer captured by 
Forrest, had been placed in the penitentiary in Georgia, 

348 morgan's cavalry. 

and we were told we were being penitentiaried in retalia- 
tion. It turned out subsequently that Colonel Streight 
was treated precisely as the other prisoners in the South. 
When we entered this gloomy mansion of "crime and 
woe" it was with misery in our hearts, although an af- 
fected gaiety of manner. We could not escape the con- 
viction, struggle against it as we would, that we were 
placed there to remain while the war lasted, and most of 
us believed that the war would outlast the generation. 
We were told, when we went in, that we "were there to 
stay," and there was something infernal in the gloom and 
the massive strength of the place which seemed to bid us 
"leave all hope behind." While we were waiting in the 
hall to which we were assigned before being placed in our 
cells, a convict, as I supposed, spoke to me in a low voice 
from the grated door of one of the cells already occupied. 
1 made some remark about the familiarity of our new 
friends on short acquaintance, when by the speaker's pe- 
culiar laugh I recognized General Morgan. He was so 
shaven and shorn that his voice alone was recognizable, 
for I could not readily distinguish his figure. We were 
soon placed in our respective cells and the iron barred 
doors locked. Some of the officers declared subsequently 
that when left alone and the eyes of the keepers were 
taken off of them they came near swooning. It was not 
the apprehension of hardship or harsh treatment that was 
so horrible ; it was the stifling sense of close confinement. 
The dead weight of the huge stone prison seemed resting 
on our breasts. On the next day we were taken out to 
undergo some of the "usual prison discipline," and were 
subjected to a sort of dress-parade. We were first placed 
man by man in big hogsheads filled with water (of which 
there were two) and solemnly scrubbed by a couple of 
negro convicts. This they said was done for sanitary 
reasons. The baths in the lake at Johnson's Island were 
much pleasanter, and the twentieth man who was ordered 
into either tub looked ruefully at the water, as if he 
thought it had already done enough for health. Then we 

morgan's cavalry. 349 

were seated in barber chairs, our beards were taken off, 
and the officiating artists were ordered to give each man's 
hair " a decent cut." We found that, according to the pen- 
itentiary code, the decent way of wearing the hair was to 
cut it all off; if the same rule had been adopted with re- 
gard to clothing, the Digger Indians would have been 
superfluously clad in comparison with our disheveled con- 
dition. Some young men lost beards and moustaches on 
this occasion, which they had assiduously cultivated with 
scanty returns for years. Colonel Smith had a magnifi- 
cent beard sweeping down to his waist, patriarchal in all 
save color — it gave him a leonine aspect that might have 
awed even a barber. He felt his loss keenly. I ventured 
to compliment him on his features, which I had never seen 
till then, and he answered, with asperity, that it was "no 
jesting matter." 

When we returned to the hall, we met General Mor- 
gan, Colonel Cluke, Calvin Morgan, Captain Gibson, and 
some twenty-six others — our party numbered sixty-eight 
in all. General Morgan and most of the officers who sur- 
rendered with him had been taken to Cincinnati and 
lodged in the city prison (as we had been) with the differ- 
ence that we had been placed in the upper apartments 
(which were clean), and he and his party were confined in 
the lower rooms, in comparison with which the stalls of 
the Augean stables were boudoirs. After great efforts, 
General Morgan obtained an interview with Burnsides 
and urged that the terms upon which he surrendered 
should be observed, but with no avail. He and the offi- 
cers with him were taken directly from Cincinnati to the 
Ohio Penitentiary, and had been there several days when 
we (who came from Johnson's Island) arrived. 

It is a difficult thing to describe, so that it will be clearly 
understood, the interior conformation of any large build- 
ing. For my purpose, it is only necessary that the archi- 
tecture of one part of it shall be understood. Let the 
reader imagine a large room (or rather wing of a build- 
ing) four hundred feet in length, forty-odd in width, and 

350 morgan's cavalry. 

with a ceiling forty-odd feet in height. One-half of this 
wing, although separated from the other by no traverse 
wall, is called the "East hall." In the walls of this hall are 
cut great windows, looking out upon one of the prison 
yards. If the reader will further imagine a building 
erected in the interior of this hall and reaching to the ceil- 
ing, upon each side of which and between its walls and 
the walls of the hall, are corridors eleven feet wide and 
running the entire length of the hall, and at either ex- 
tremity of this building, spaces twenty feet in width, he 
will have conceived a just idea of that part of the prison 
in which General Morgan and his officers were confined. 
In the interior building the cells are constructed — each 
about three feet and a half wide and seven feet long. The 
doors of the cells — a certain number of which are con- 
structed in each side of the building — open upon the cor- 
ridors which have been described. At the back of each, 
and of course separating the ranges of cells upon the op- 
posite sides of the building, is a hollow space reaching 
from the floor to the ceiling, running" the whole length of 
the building and three or four feet wide. This space is 
left for the purpose of obtaining more thorough ventila- 
tion, and the back wall of every cell is perforated with a 
hole, three or four inches in diameter, to admit the air 
from this passage. 

We were placed in the cells constructed in that face of 
the interior building which looks toward the town. No 
convicts were quartered in the cells on that side, except 
on the extreme upper tiers, but the cells on the other side 
of the building were all occupied by them. The cells are 
some seven feet in height, and are built in ranges, or tiers, 
one above the other. They are numbered, range first, 
second, third, and so on, commencing at the lower one. 
The doors are grates of iron, the bars of which are about 
an inch and a quarter wide and half an inch thick, and are, 
perhaps, two inches apart. In front of each range of cells 
were balconies three feet wide, and ladders led from each 
one of these to the other just above it. 

morgan's cavalry. 351 

AVe were permitted to exercise, during the day, in the 
corridor in front of our cells, although prohibited from 
looking out of the windows. Twice a day we were taken 
to meals, crossing (when we went to breakfast) an open 
space, or court, and passing through the kitchen into the 
large dining-hall of the institution. Here, seated at tables 
about two feet wide and the same distance apart, a great 
many prisoners could be fed at the same time. We were 
not allowed to breakfast and dine with the convicts, or 
they were not allowed to eat with us. I could never learn 
exactly how it was. We crossed the yard, on the way to 
breakfast, for the purpose of washing our faces, which was 
permitted by the prison regulations, but a certain method 
of doing it was prescribed. Two long troughs were filled 
with water. The inhabitants of the first range washed in 
one trough, and those of the second range used the other. 
We soon obtained permission to buy and keep our own 
towels. In returning from breakfast, and in going to and 
returning from dinner, we never quitted the prison build- 
ing, but marched through a wing of the dining-room back 
to the long wing in our hall. 

At 7 P M. in summer (earlier afterward) we were re- 
quired to go to our respective cells at the tap of the turn- 
key's key on the stove, and he passed along the ranges 
and locked us in for the night. In a little while, then, we 
would hear the steady, rolling tramp of the convicts, who 
slept in the hall at the other end of the wing, as they 
marched in with military step and precision, changing 
after awhile from the sharp clatter of many feet simul- 
taneously striking the stone floor to the hurried, muffled 
rattle of their ascent (in a trot) of the stairways. Then 
when each had gained his cell and the locking-in com- 
menced, the most infernal clash and clang, as huge bolts 
were fastened, would be heard that ever startled the ear 
of a sane man. When Satan receives a fresh lot of pris- 
oners he certainly must torture each half by compelling it 
to hear the other locked into cells with iron doors. 

The rations furnished us for the first ten days were in- 


ferior to those subsequently issued. The food allowed us 
although exceedingly coarse was always sufficiently abun- 
dant. After about ten days the restriction, previously im- 
posed, preventing us from purchasing or receiving from 
our friends articles edible, or of any other description, 
was repealed, and we were allowed to receive everything 
sent us. Our Kentucky friends had been awaiting this 
opportunity, and for fear that the privilege would be soon 
withdrawn hastened to send cargoes of all sorts of food 
and all kinds of dainties. For a few days we were almost 
surfeited with good things, and then the trap fell. When 
piles of delicacies were stacked up in his office, the war- 
den of the prison, Captain Merion, confiscated all to his 
own use, forbade our receiving anything more, and rather 
than the provisions should be wasted furnished his own 
table with them. 

For several weeks one or two soldiers were habitually 
kept in the hall with us during the day The turnkey 
who was the presiding imp in that wing — the ghoul of our 
part of the catacombs — was rarely absent, but passed back 
and forth, prying and suspicious. Scott was the name of 
the interesting creature who officiated as our immediate 
keeper, for the first four months of our confinement in 
this place. He was on duty only during the day. At 
night a special guard went the rounds. The gas-burners 
with which each cell was furnished were put into use as 
soon as we were locked up, and we were allowed to burn 
candles for another hour after the hour for which the gas 
was turned on had expired. We were permitted to buy 
books and keep them in our cells, and for some weeks 
were not restricted in the number of letters which we 
might write. Indeed for a period of nearly three months 
our condition was uncomfortable only on account of the 
constant confinement within the walls of the prison, the 
lack of exercise and sunlight, and free air, and the pen- 
ning up at night in the close cells. To a man who has never 
been placed in such a situation no words can convey the 
slightest idea of its irksomeness. There was not one of 

morgan's cavalry. 353 

us who would not have eagerly exchanged it for the most 
comfortless of all the prisons, where he could have spent 
the days in the open air and some part of the time have 
felt that the eyes of the gaolers were not upon him. 
Every conceivable method of killing time and every prac- 
tical recreation was resorted to. Marbles were held in 
high estimation for many days, and the games were played 
first and discussed subsequently with keen interest. A 
long ladder, which had been left in the hall, leaning against 
the wall, was a perfect treasure to those who most craved 
active exercise. They practiced all sorts of gymnastics on 
this ladder, and cooled the fever in their blood with fa- 
tigue. Chess finally became the standard amusement, and 
those who did not understand the game watched it never- 
theless with as much apparent relish as if they did. 

One method adopted in the Ohio Penitentiary for pun- 
ishing the refractory and disobedient was to confine them 
in cells called the "dungeons," and dungeons indeed they 
were. Captain Foster Cheatham was the first man of our 
party who explored their recesses. His private negotia- 
tions with one of the military guard for liquids of stimu- 
lating properties were not only unsuccessful but were 
discovered by the warden, and the captain was dragged 
to a "loathsome dungeon." He remained twenty-four 
hours and came out wiser on the subject of prison disci- 
pline and infinitely sadder than when he went in. The 
next victim was Major Higley. One of the keepers was 
rough to him and Higley used strong language in return. 
Disrespectful language to, or about, officials was not tol- 
erated in the institution and Higley was punished. He 
also remained in the dungeon for twenty-four hours. He 
was a man of lean habit and excitable temperament, when 
in the best state of health — and he returned from the 
place of punishment, looking like a ghost. Pale and shak- 
ing, he gave us a spirited and humorous account of his in- 
terview with the superior gaolers, and his experience in 
the dark, stifling cell. 

After we had been in the penitentiary some three or 


four weeks, Colonel Cluke and another officer were taken 
out and sent to McLean barracks, to be tried by court- 
martial upon the charge of having violated some oath 
taken before they entered the Confederate service. They 
were acquitted and Colonel Cluke was sent to Johnson's 
Island, where during the ensuing winter he died of diph- 
theria. He was exceedingly popular in the division, and 
was a man of the most frank, generous and high-toned 
nature. The news of his death excited universal sorrow 
among his comrades. 

When two or three months had elapsed, General Mor- 
gan's impatience of the galling confinement and perpetual 
espionage amounted almost to frenzy. He restrained all 
exhibition of his feeling remarkably , but it was apparent 
to his fellow prisoners that he was chafing terribly under 
the restraint, more irksome to him than to any one of the 

The difficulty of getting letters from our families and 
friends in the South was one of the worst evils of this im- 
prisonment; and if a letter came containing anything in 
the least objectionable, it was as likely as not, destroyed, 
and the envelope only was delivered to the man to whom 
it was written. Generally, the portion of its contents 
which incurred Merion's censure having been erased, it 
was graciously delivered, but more than once a letter 
which would have been valued beyond all price was alto- 
gether withheld, and the prisoner anxiously expecting it 
was mocked, as I have stated, by receiving the envelope 
in which it came. 

The introduction of newspapers was strictly forbidden. 
If the newspapers, which the convicts who passed through 
our hall in the transaction of their duties sometimes smug- 
gled into us, were discovered in any man's hand or cell 
woe be unto him. 

Captain Calvin Morgan was once reading a newspaper 
that had "run the blockade," in his cell at night, and had 
become deeply interested in it, when the night guard, 
stealing along with noiseless step, detected him. 


The customary taps (by the occupants of the other cells 
who discovered his approach and thus telegraphed it along 
the range) had been this time neglected. "What paper is 
that?" said the guard. "Come in and see," said Morgan. 
"No," said the guard, "you must pass it to me through 
the bars." "I'll do nothing of the kind," was the answer. 
"If you think that I have a paper which was smuggled into 
me, why unlock the door, come in and get it." The fellow 
apparently did not like to trust himself in the cell with 
Captain Morgan, who was much the more powerful man 
of the two, and he hastened off for reinforcements. Dur- 
ing his absence Morgan rolled the paper up into a small 
compass and, baring his arm, thrust it far up into the ven- 
tilator at the back part of the cell. Fortunately there was 
in the cell a newspaper given him that day by one of the 
sub-wardens named Hevay, a very kind old man. Mor- 
gan unfolded this paper and was seated in the same atti- 
tude (as when first discovered) reading it, when the guard 
returned. The latter brought Scott with him and un- 
locked the door. "Now give me that paper," he said. 
"There it is," said Morgan handing it him, "Old man 
Hevay gave it to me to-day." The guard inspected it 
closely and seemed satisfied. "Why did you not give it to 
me before?" he asked. "Because," returned Captain Mor- 
gan, "I thought you had no right to ask it, and I had 
moreover no assurance that you would return it." With 
a parting injunction to do so no more or the dungeon 
would reveal him its secrets, the guard, after a thorough 
search to find another paper, left the cell. He examined 
the ventilator, but Morgan's arm being the longer the 
paper was beyond his reach. Captain Morgan's literary 
pursuits were suspended, however, for that night. 

When the news of the battle of Chickamauga was com- 
ing in and we were half wild with excitement and eager- 
ness to learn the true version of the reports that pre- 
vailed, for everything told us by the prison officials was 
garbled, we by good luck got in two or three newspapers 
containing full accounts of the battle. I shall never forget 

356 morgan's cavalry. 

listening to them read, in General Morgan's cell, while 
four or five pickets (regularly relieved) were posted to 
guard against surprise. These papers were read to the 
whole party in detachments; while one listened the suc- 
ceeding one waited its turn in nervous impatience. 

As I have said, General Morgan grew more restless un- 
der his imprisonment every day and finally resolved to 
effect his escape, at any hazard, or labor. Several plans 
were considered and abandoned, and at length one de- 
vised by Captain Hines was adopted.* This was to "tun- 
nel" out of the prison — as the mode of escape by digging 
a trench to lead from the interior to the outside of the 
prisons was technically called. But to "tunnel" through 
the stone pavement and immense walls of the penitentiary 
— concealing the tremendous work as it progressed — re- 
quired a bold imagination to conceive such an idea. Hines 
had heard, in some way, a hint of an air chamber con- 
structed under the lower range of cells — that range im- 
mediately upon the ground floor. He thought it proba- 
ble that there was such a chamber, for he could account in 
no other way for the dryness of the cells in that range. At 
the first opportunity he entered into conversation with 
old Hevay, the deputy warden mentioned before. This 
old man was very kind-hearted, and was also an enthusiast 
upon the subject of the architectural grandeur of that pen- 
itentiary. Hines led the conversation into that channel, 
and finally learned that his surmise was correct. If, then, 
he could cut through the floor of his cell and reach this 
air chamber without detection, he would have, he saw, 
an excellent base for future operations. He communi- 
cated his plan to General Morgan, who at once approved 
it. Five other men were selected (whose cells were on 
the first range) as assistants. 

The work was commenced with knives abstracted from 

* Captain L,. D. Hockersmith, of the Tenth Kentucky, claims to have 
originated this plan of escape, and I believe that he and Hines simul- 
taneously conceived it. He would make no claim he did not think just. 
He had more to do than anyone with its practical execution. 


the table. These knives — broad at the end of the blade 
instead of pointed — made excellent chisels, and were the 
very best tools for the inauguration of the labor. Putting 
out pickets to prevent surprise, they pecked and chiseled 
away at the hard floor, which was eighteen inches thick, of 
cement and brick — concealing the rubbish in their hand- 
kerchiefs and then throwing part of it into the stoves, and 
hiding the rest in their beds. They soon dug a hole in the 
floor large enough to permit a man to pass. The iron 
bedsteads, which stood in each cell, could be lifted up or 
let down at pleasure. Hines would prop his up, each 
morning, sweep out his cell (in which the aperture had 
been cut) and throw a carpet sack carelessly over the 
mouth of the shaft he had sunk; and when the guard 
would come and look in, everything would appear so neat 
and innocent that he would not examine further. One 
kick given that carpet bag would have disclosed the plot, 
at any time from the date of the inception of the work to 
its close. After the air chamber was reached, a good 
many others were taken into the secret in order that the 
work might go constantly on. 

The method adopted, then, was for two or three to de- 
scend and go to work while the others kept watch ; in an 
hour or two a fresh relief would be put on and the work 
would be kept up in this way throughout the day until the 
hour for locking up arrived, except at dinner time, when 
every man who was absent from the table had to give a 
reason for his absence. The work, conducted under- 
ground was tedious and difficult, but all labored with a 
will. The candles which had been purchased and hoarded 
now did good service. Without them it would have been 
almost impossible to finish the task. A code of signals 
was invented to meet every possible contingency. By 
pounding a bar of wood upon the stone floor those above 
communicated to those underneath information of every 
danger which threatened, and called on them to come 
forth, if necessary The walls of the air chamber were two 
or three feet thick and built of huge stones. Two or three 

358 morgan's cavalry. 

of these stones were removed, and a tunnel was run 
straight to the outer wall of the hall. Fortune favored 
the workmen, at this juncture, and threw in their way an 
adequate tool with which to accomplish their part of their 
work. Some one had discovered lying in the yard 
through which we passed on our way to breakfast an old 
rusty spade with a broken handle. It was at once deter- 
mined that the said spade must be secured. Accordingly 
men were detailed and instructed in their proper parts, and 
at the first opportunity the spade was transferred to the 
air chamber and used in digging the tunnel. 

When the main wall of the hall was reached the heavy 
stones of its foundation were removed in sufficient num- 
ber to admit of the passage of a man. But it was then dis- 
covered that the tunnel led right under an immense coal 
pile. It was necessary that this difficulty should be reme- 
died; but how? Without a view of the ground just out- 
side of the wall, no one could calculate how far or in what 
direction to run the tunnel, so that when it was conducted 
to the surface all obstructions might be avoided. In this 
emergency, General Morgan engaged Scott in conversa- 
tion about the remarkable escape of some convicts which 
had occurred a year or two previously, and which Scott 
was very fond of describing. These convicts had climbed 
by the balconies, in front of the ranges of cells, to the ceil- 
ing, and had passed out through the skylight to the roof 
of the prison. Scott declared his belief that there were 
no two other men on the continent who could perform 
the feat of ascending by the balconies. 

"Why," says General Morgan, "Captain Sam. Taylor, 
small as he is, can do it." 

Thereupon a discussion ensued, ending by Scott's giv- 
ing Taylor permission to attempt it. Taylor, who, al- 
though very small, was as active as a squirrel, immediately 
commenced the ascent, and sprang from one to the other 
of the balconies until he reached the top one. He was one 
of the men who had been selected to escape with General 
Morgan, and comprehended immediately the latter's ob- 

morgan's cavalry. 359 

ject in having him attempt this feat. It would afford him 
a chance to glance out of the windows at the ground just 
beyond the wall. As he leisurely swung himself down, he 
studied "the position" carefully and his observations en- 
abled them to direct the tunnel aright. 

When the tunneling approached its completion, all the 
other necessary preparations were made. The prison 
yard, into which they would emerge from the tunnel, was 
surrounded by a wall twenty-five feet high and means for 
scaling that had to be provided. There was an inner wall 
running from the corner of the "east hall" to a smaller 
building, in which some of the female convicts were im- 
prisoned, but it was comparatively low and they antici- 
pated little difficulty in getting over it. The coverlets of 
several beds were torn into strips, and the strips were 
plaited into a strong rope nearly thirty feet in length. A. 
strong iron rod, used for stirring the fires in the stoves, 
was converted into a hook and the rope was attached to it. 
Rope and hook were taken down into the air chamber, 
where all the "valuables" were stored. 

General Morgan had managed to get a suit of citizen's 
clothing, and six men who were going to escape with 
him were similarly provided. The warden had prohibited 
the introduction into the prison of uniforms, but occa- 
sionally allowed plain suits to be received. The general 
had also gotten a card of the schedule time on the Little 
Miami Railroad, and knew when the train left Columbus 
and when it arrived in Cincinnati; for this he paid $15, the 
only money used in effecting his escape. 

Despite the strict search instituted when we first en- 
tered the penitentiary, several of the party had managed 
to secrete money so that it was not found. This was now 
divided among the seven who were to escape. These 
were, besides General Morgan, Captains Thomas H. 
Hines, Ralph Sheldon, Sam Taylor, Jacob Bennett, L. D. 
Hockersmith, and Gustavus McGee. It is plain that, as 
each man was locked in a separate cell and could not get 
out of it by the door without an interview with the night 

360 morgan's cavalry. 

guard, it was necessary to cut an opening into the air 
chamber through the floor of each cell from which each 
one of the seven would escape. If these apertures were 
cut from the top of the floors to the cells, the risk of de- 
tection would be proportionally increased ; so an accurate 
measurement of the distance between the cells was taken 
and, with Hines' cell as a point of departure, it was easy to 
calculate where to commence cutting from underneath, in 
order that the floors of all these particular cells should be 
perforated. A thin crust, only, of the cement was left, but 
to all outward appearance the floor was as sound as ever. 

By means of an arrangement which had been perfected 
for obtaining all absolutely necessary articles, each one of 
the party about to escape had procured a stout, sharp 
knife — very effective weapons in case of surprise and an 
attempt to stop their escape. When everything was ready 
they waited several nights for rain — trusting to elude the 
vigilance of the guards more easily in the obscurity of 
such a night — and taking the chance, also, that the dogs 
which were turned loose every night in the yard would be 
driven by the rain into their kennels, which were situated 
on the other side of the yard from that where they would 

On the 26th of November General Morgan learned that 
there had been a change of military commandants at Co- 
lumbus. Well knowing that this would be followed by an 
inspection of the prison and probably a discovery of the 
plot, he determined that the effort should be made that 
very night. His own cell was in the second range, from 
which it was impossible to reach the air chamber and tun- 
nel, but the cell of his brother, Colonel Richard Morgan, 
had been prepared for him, and when Scott tapped, as 
usual on the stove as a signal for each man to retire to his 
cell, the exchange was effected. There was a sufficient 
resemblance between them to deceive a man who would 
not look closely, especially when they were seated with 
their faces turned away from the door. 

At any rate, Scott and the night guard were both de- 

morgan's cavalry. 361 

ceived, and efforts were made by the occupants of the cells 
near to both of those, where close inspection would have 
been dangerous, to attract to themselves the attention 
of the guard when he went the rounds. As it was espe- 
cially necessary, on this occasion, to know certainly when 
the night guard approached, small bits of coal had been 
sprinkled just before the hour for locking up on the floor 
of the first range, so that (tread as lightly as he would), 
he could not help making a noise. 

It had been arranged that, just after the 12 o'clock visit 
from the guard, Captain Taylor should descend into the 
air chamber and give the signal underneath the floor of 
each cell. Six hours elapsed after the locking in; regu- 
larly during that time the night guard went his rounds, 
making an awful crackling as he passed along the lower 
range. Sixty-odd men lay awake, silent and excited — 
with hearts beating louder and blood rushing faster 
through their veins than the approach of battle had ever 
occasioned. Perhaps the coolest of all that number were 
the seven who were about to incur the risk. 

Twelve o'clock struck, and the clang of the bell seemed 
to be in the hall itself — the guard passed with his lantern 
— a few minutes elapsed (while the adventurers lay still 
lest he should slip back), and then at the signal they 
sprang from their beds. Then stamping upon the floor 
above the excavations, the thin crust of each gave way 
and they descended into the air chamber. They passed 
one by one along the tunnel, until the foremost man 
reached the terminus and with his knife cut away the sod 
which had of course been left untouched. Then they 
emerged into the open air and inner yard. 

The early part of the night had been bright and clear, 
but now it was cloudy and rain was falling. They climbed 
the low wall and descended into the large yard. The rain 
had caused the sentries to seek shelter and had driven the 
dogs to their kennels. They moved cautiously across the 
yard ; if detected, their knives must have saved or avenged 
them. Discovery would have been hard upon them, but 

362 morgan's cavalry. 

it would have, also, been unhealthy for the discoverer. 
They were resolved to be free — they were powerful and 
desperate men — and if they failed they were determined 
that others, besides themselves, should have cause for sor- 
row. But they reached and climbed the outer wall in 
safety. There was a coping upon it which they grappled 
with the hook, and they climbed, hand over hand, to the 
top. When all had ascended, the hook was grappled upon 
the inner shelf of the coping and they let themselves 
down. When they were all on the ground they strove to 
shake the hook loose, but it held fast and they were forced 
to leave the rope hanging. That circumstance caused the 
detection of their escape two hours sooner than would 
otherwise have happened, for the rope was discovered at 
daylight and the alarm was given. But time enough had 
been allowed the fugitives to make good their escape. 
They at once separated. 

General Morgan and Hines went straight to the depot. 
Hines bought tickets to Cincinnati, and when the train 
came they got on it. 

General Morgan was apprehensive that they would be 
asked for passes or permits to travel, and arrested for not 
having them. He saw an officer of field rank seated in the 
car which he entered, and it occurred to him that if he 
were seen in familiar conversation with this officer, he 
would not, perhaps, be asked for a pass. He and Hines 
seated themselves near this officer and courteously ad- 
dressed him; he replied as suavely. After a short con- 
versation, General Morgan produced a liquor flask (they 
were very generally carried then) and invited the officer 
to take a drink of brandy, which invitation was gracefully 
accepted. Just then the train moved past the peniten- 
tiary. "That is the hotel at which Morgan stops I be- 
lieve," said the officer. "Yes," answered the General, 
"and will stop, it is to be hoped. He has given us his fair 
share of trouble and he will not be released. I will drink 
to him. May he ever be as closely kept as he is now." 

This officer was a pleasant and well informed gentle- 

morgan's cavalry. 363 

man, and General Morgan passed the night in an agreea- 
ble and instructive conversation with him, asking many- 
questions and receiving satisfactory replies. 

When the suburbs of Cincinnati were reached, a little 
after daylight, it was time to get off. General Morgan 
pulled the bell rope and moved to one platform ; Hines 
went to the other and they put the brakes down with all 
their strength. The speed of the train slackened and they 
sprang off. 

Two or three soldiers were sitting on a pile of lumber 
near where General Morgan alighted. "What in the h — 11 
are you jumping off the train for?" asked one of them. 
"What in the d — 1 is the use of a man going on to town 
when he lives out here?" responded the general. "Be- 
sides what matter is it to you " "Oh, nothing," said the 
soldier, and paid him no further attention. Reaching the 
river, which runs close to this point, they gave a little boy 
two dollars to put them across in a skiff. 

In Newport, Ky., they found friends to aid them, and 
before the telegraph had given to Cincinnati the informa- 
tion of his escape, he was well on his way to Boone 
county — sure asylum for such fugitives. In Boone fresh 
horses, guides, and all that was necessary were quickly 
obtained. He felt no longer any apprehension; he could 
travel from Boone to Harrison or Scott counties, thence 
through Anderson to Nelson, and thence to the Tennes- 
see line ; and, during all that time no one need know of 
his whereabouts but his devoted friends, who would have 
died to shield him from harm. 

A writer who described his progress through Kentucky, 
shortly after it occurred, says, truly: "Everybody vied 
with each other as to who should show him the most at- 
tention — even to the negroes ; and young ladies of re- 
finement begged the honor of cooking his meals." He 
assumed more than one disguise, and played many parts 
in his passage through Kentucky; now passing as a Gov- 
ernment contractor buying cattle; and again as a quar- 
termaster or inspector. 

364 morgan's cavalry. 

When he reached the Little Tennessee river his serious 
difficulties began ; in passing through a portion of Ten- 
nessee he had met friends as truly devoted to him as any 
of those who had assisted him in Kentucky. 

In portions of middle Tennessee he was so constantly 
recognized, that it was well for him that he was so univers- 
ally popular there. One day he passed a number of citi- 
zens, and one woman commenced clapping her hands and 
called out: "Oh, I know who it is," then recollecting 
the necessity of caution, turned away. The region in 
which he struck the Little Tennessee river was strongly 
Union, and the people would have betrayed him if they 
had discovered who he was. The river was guarded at 
every point, and there was no boat or raft upon it which 
was not in possession of the enemy He was, in this vicin- 
ity, joined by some thirty nomadic Confederates and they 
set to work and constructed a raft for him to cross upon. 

When it was finished, they insisted that he and Hines 
should cross first — the horses were made to swim. While 
General Morgan was walking his horse about, with a blan- 
ket thrown over him to recover him from the chill occa- 
sioned by immersion in the cold water, he suddenly (he 
subsequently declared) was seized with the conviction that 
the enemy were coming upon them, and instantly com- 
menced to saddle his horse, bidding Hines do the same. 
Scarcely had they done so, when the enemy dashed up in 
strong force on the other side and dispersed the poor fel- 
lows who were preparing to cross in their turn. He and 
Hines went straight up the mountain at the foot of which 
they had landed. It grew dark and commenced to rain; 
he knew that if he remained all night on the mountain his 
capture would be certain in the morning, and he deter- 
mined to run the gauntlet of the pickets at the base of the 
mountain on the opposite side before the line was 
strengthened. As he descended, leading his horse, he 
came immediately upon one of the pickets. As he pre- 
pared to shoot him he discovered that the fellow slept, and 
stole by without injuring or awakening him. 

morgan's cavalry. 365 

At the house of a Union man not far from the base of 
the mountain the two tired and hunted wanderers found 
shelter and supper, and General Morgan, representing 
himself as a Federal quartermaster, induced the host, by 
a promise of a liberal supply of sugar and coffee, to guide 
them to Athens. Every mile of his route through this 
country was marked by some adventure. Finally Hines 
became separated from him. The General sent him, one 
evening, to a house to inquire the way to a certain place, 
while he himself remained a short distance off upon the 
road. In a few minutes he heard shots and the tramp of 
several horses galloping in the opposite direction, and he 
knew at once that Hines was cut off from him. That 
night he narrowly escaped being shot; that fate befell a 
man mistaken for him. At length, after hazard and toil 
beyond all description, he reached the Confederate lines. 

Hines was captured by the party which pursued him 
from the house and he was confined in a little log hut 
that night, in which his captors also slept. He made him- 
self very agreeable; told a great many pleasant stories 
with immense effect. At length the sentry, posted at the 
door, drew near the fire at the other end of the room, to 
hear the conclusion of a very funny anecdote. Hines 
seized the opportunity and sprang through the door, bade 
the party good night, and darted into the bushes. He 
effected his escape and reached Dixie in safety. 

When the escape of General Morgan was discovered 
on the morning after it was effected, there was an extra- 
ordinary degree of emotion manifested by the peniten- 
tiary officials. The rope, hanging upon the wall, was 
seen by someone at daylight ; it was apparent that some- 
body had escaped, the alarm was given to the warden and 
his suspicions at once turned toward the prisoners of war. 

About 6 A. M. a detachment of guards and turnkeys 
poured into the hall and began running about, unlocking 
doors and calling on various men by name, in the wildest 
and most frantic manner. For some time they were puz- 
zled to determine who had escaped. Colonel Morgan was 

366 morgan's cavalry. 

still taken for the General, and the "dummies" in the cells 
which had been vacated, for a while, deceived them into 
the belief that those cells were still occupied. But at 
length a more careful and calm examination revealed the 
fact and the method of the escape, and then the hubbub 
broke out afresh. 

It was generally feared that Colonel Morgan would be 
severely dealt with, and he expected a long term in the 
dungeon; but to the surprise and gratification of all of us 
it was announced that he was thought no more guilty 
than the rest, and should be punished no more harshly. 
The first step taken was to remove all of the first range 
men to the third range. Then a general, thorough search 
was instituted. Every cell was carefully examined, every 
man was stripped and inspected, every effort was made, 
after the bird was flown, to make the cage secure. 

It was the desire of every prisoner to secure General 
Morgan's escape; that was of paramount importance. 
We were now constantly locked up in our cells, night and 
day, except when we were marched to our meals and 
straight back. The cells were, I have already said, very 
small, and the bed took up half of each. The only method 
we had of exercising was to step sideways from one end of 
the cells to the other. The weather was intensely cold, and 
when the stone flooring of the hall was removed and a 
deep trench cut, in order that the damage done by the 
tunneling might be repaired, the chill arising from the 
damp earth was terrible. 

Everything which we had been allowed in the way of 
luxuries was now forbidden, except books. We were for- 
bidden to speak while at the table, to speak aloud in our 
cells after the gas was lit at night, to address one of the 
convicts, even those who frequented the hall in which we 
were confined, no matter what the necessity might be. It 
would be difficult to enumerate the restrictions which were 
now imposed upon us, confinement in the dungeon being 
the inevitable penalty attached to the violation of any of 
these rules. These cells were rather smaller than those in 

morgan's cavalry. 367 

which we were habitually confined and the doors were 
half a foot thick, with sheet-iron nailed on the outside and 
so contrived that (extending beyond the edges of the 
door) it excluded every ray of air and light. In all seasons 
the air within them was stagnant, foul, and stifling, and 
would produce violent nausea and headache. In summer, 
these places were said to be like heated ovens, and in win- 
ter they were veritable refrigerators. 

After some three weeks of close confinement, we were 
permitted to exercise in the hall for four hours during the 
day, and were locked in the rest of the time. The nervous 
irritability induced by this long and close confinement 
sometimes showed itself in a manner which would have 
amused a man whose mind was in a healthy condition. 
Just as soon as we were permitted to leave our cells in the 
morning and meet in the hall, the most animated discus- 
sions upon all sorts of topics would begin. These would 
occasionally degenerate into clamorous and angry debates. 
The disputants would become as earnest and excited over 
subjects in which perhaps they had never felt the least in- 
terest before, as if they had been considering matters of 
vital and immediate importance. 

Two of the officers who escaped with General Morgan, 
Captains Sheldon and Taylor, were recaptured and 
brought back to the penitentiary- They ventured into 
Louisville, where they were well known, were recognized, 
and arrested. 

A military guard was placed at the prison immediately 
after the General's escape, and for some time sentinels 
(with bayonets fixed) paced the hall. None of us had im- 
agined that we could welcome the presence of Federal 
soldiers with so much satisfaction. The difference in the 
tone and manner of the soldiers from that of the convict 
drivers made it a relief to have anything to say to the for- 
mer. They were evidently disgusted with their associate 

In February I was removed, at the solicitation of 
friends, to Camp Chase. Having made no application for 

368 morgan's cavalry. 

this removal nor having heard that one had been made in 
my behalf, I was surprised when the order for it came, and 
still more surprised when I learned at Camp Chase that I 
was to be paroled. I was permitted to go freely where I 
pleased within the limits of the camp, excellent quarters 
were assigned me, and my condition was, in all respects, 
as comfortable as that of the officers on duty there. Col- 
onel Richardson, the commandant, was a veteran of the 
Army of the Potomac, and had accepted the charge of the 
prison after he had been disabled by wounds. If the treat- 
ment which I received at his hands was a fair sample of 
his conduct toward prisoners generally, it is certain that 
none had a right to complain of him, and it would have 
been a fortunate thing if just such men had been selected 
(upon both sides) to be placed over those whose condition 
depended so entirely upon the will and disposition of the 
officers in charge of them. Finding that my parole was 
not likely to result in my exchange and that there was no 
other Confederate officer similarly indulged, I applied to 
be sent back to the penitentiary. 

After I left Camp Chase, where every one had been uni- 
formly polite and respectful in demeanor and I had en- 
joyed privileges which amounted almost to liberty, the 
gloom of the penitentiary and the surly, ban-dog manner 
of the keepers were doubly distasteful, and the feeling was 
as if I were being buried alive. I found that, during my 
absence, the prisoners had been removed from the hall 
which they had all the time previously occupied to an- 
other in which the negro convicts had formerly slept, and 
this latter was a highly-scented dormitory. The cause of 
the removal was that (desperate at their long confinement 
and the treatment they were receiving) a plan had been 
concocted for obtaining knives and breaking out of the 
prison by force. A. thorough knowledge of the to- 
pography of the entire building was by this time possessed 
by the leaders in this movement. They had intended to 
secure Merion and as many as possible of the underlings 
by enticing them into the hall upon some pretext, and w 

morgan's cavalry. 369 

then gagging, binding, and locking them up in the cells. 
Then, giving the signal for the opening of the doors, they 
expected to obtain possession of the office and room 
where the guns were kept. One of the party was to have 
been dressed in convict garb to give the necessary signal, 
in order that all suspicion might have been avoided. It is 
barely possible that, with better luck, the plan might have 
succeeded, but it was frustrated by the basest treachery. 
Among the sixty-eight prisoners of war confined in the 
penitentiary, there were four whose nerve gave way and 
they took the oath of allegiance to the United States. 
One of this four betrayed the plan to the warden. 

Search was at once made for the knives which the pris- 
oners had obtained and for other evidence which might 
corroborate the informer's report. Fifteen knives had 
been introduced into the hall and were in the hands of as 
many prisoners. The search was inaugurated secretly 
and conducted as quietly as possible, during the time that 
the prisoners were locked in the cells, but information was 
gotten along the ranges that it was going on and only 
seven knives were discovered. The remaining eight were 
hidden so ingeniously, that, notwithstanding the strict 
hunt after everything of the kind, they were not found. 
All of the party were at once closely confined again, and 
the seven who were detected with the knives were sent 
to the dungeons, where they were kept seven days, until 
the surgeon declared that a longer stay would kill them. 

They passed the period of their confinement in almost 
constant motion (such as the limits of the cell would per- 
mit), and said that they had no recollection of having 
slept during the whole time. When they came out they 
were almost blind and could scarcely drag themselves 

One of the party, Captain Barton, was so affected that 
the blood streamed from under his finger nails. When I 
returned (after a month passed at Camp Chase) I was 
startled by the appearance of those, even, who had not 
been subjected to punishment in the dungeon. They had 


the wild, squalid look and feverish eager impression of 
eye which lunatics have after long confinement. 

At last, in March, 1864, all were removed to Fort Dela- 
ware, and the change was as if living men, long buried in 
subterranean vaults, had been restored to upper earth. 
About the same time one hundred and ten officers of Mor- 
gan's division, who had been confined in the Pennsylvania 
Penitentiary, were transferred to Point Lookout. These 
officers described the treatment which they received as 
having been much better than that adopted toward us, yet 
one of their number had become insane. All that I have 
attempted to describe, however, must have been ease and 
luxury compared with the hardship, hunger and harsh 
cruelty inflicted upon the Confederate private soldiers im- 
prisoned at Camps Morton and Douglass and at Rock 

At Fort Delaware, General Schoeff, the commandant, 
placed some eighteen or twenty of us in the rooms built 
in the casements of the fort, and allowed us, for some 
time, the privilege of walking about the island upon our 
giving him our paroles not to attempt escape. 

General M. Jeff. Thompson, of Missouri, was the only 
Confederate officer at that prison before our party arrived, 
but many others from Camp Chase came about the same 
time. General Thompson's military career is well known 
to his countrymen, but only his prison companions know 
how kind and manly he could be, under circumstances 
which severely try the temper. His unfailing flow of 
spirits kept every one else, in his vicinity, cheerful and his 
hopefulness was contagious. He possessed, also, an amaz- 
ing poetical genius. He wrote with surprising fluency, 
and his finest compositions cost him neither trouble nor 
thought. Shut him up in a room with plenty of station- 
ery and in twenty-four hours he would write himself up to 
the chin in verse. His muse was singularly prolific and 
her progeny various. He roamed recklessly through the 
realm of poesy. Every style seemed his — blank verse and 
rhyme, ode and epic, lyric and tragic, satiric and elegiac, 


sacred and profane, sublime and ridiculous, he was equally 
good at all. His poetry might not perhaps have stood a 
very strict classification, but he produced a fair, market- 
able sample which deserved (his friends thought) to be 
quoted at as liberal figures as some about which much 
more was said. 

At Fort Delaware the prevailing topic of conversation 
was exchange; men who were destined to many another 
weary month of imprisonment sustained themselves with 
the hope that it would soon come. At last a piece of good 
fortune befell some of us. It was announced that General 
Jones, the officer in command at Charleston, had placed 
fifty Federal officers in a part of the city where they would 
be exposed to danger from the batteries of the besiegers. 
An order was issued that fifty Confederate officers, of cor- 
responding rank, should be selected for retaliation. Five 
general and forty-five field and line officers were accord- 
ingly chosen from the different prisons, Fort Delaware 
furnishing a large delegation for that purpose. The gen- 
eral officers selected were Major-General Frank Gardner, 
Major-General Edward Johnson, Brigadier-General Stew- 
art, Brigadier-General Archer, and Brigadier-General 
Thompson. Among the field officers who went, were 
seven of the penitentiary prisoners — Colonels Ward, 
Morgan, and Tucker, Majors Webber, Steele, and Higley, 
and myself. 

We left our comrades with a regret felt for their bad 
fortune, for we felt assured that our apparent ill-luck would 
terminate in an exchange. Colonel Coleman, who had 
been confined in the Fort with the party of which so many 
were sent on this "expedition," was bitterly disappointed 
at being left behind and we regretted it equally as much. 
Three of our companions through so many vicissitudes we 
never saw again — three of the worthiest — Captains Griffin, 
Mullins, and Wardour died shortly afterward. 

On the 26th of June, we were put on board of a steamer, 
and puffed away down the Delaware river. It was confi- 
dently affirmed that we were going to be placed on Morris 

37 2 morgan's cavalry. 

Island, where the Charleston batteries would have a fair 
play at us; so that our friends (blissfully unconscious of 
how disagreeable they were making themselves) might 
speedily finish us. The prospect was not absolutely invit- 
ing, but after the matter was talked over and General 
Gardner, especially, consulted (as he had most experience 
in heavy artillery) we felt more easy. General Thompson, 
who had fought that way a good deal, said that "a man's 
chance to be struck by lightning was better than to be hit 
by a siege gun." This consoled me very little, for I had 
all my life been nervously afraid of lightning. However, 
we at last settled it unanimously that, while we would per- 
haps be badly frightened by the large bombs, there was 
little likelihood of many being hurt, and, at any rate, the 
risk was very slight compared with the brilliant hope of 
its resulting in exchange. 

After we got fairly to sea very little thought was wasted 
on other matters. The captain of the vessel said that there 
was "no sea on," or some such gibberish, and talked as if 
we were becalmed, at the very time that the tipsy old 
boat was bobbing about like a green rider on a trotting 
horse. It is a matter of poetical surmise what sort of 
metal encased the hearts of those who first tempted the 
fury of the seas, but they must have had stomachs lined 
with mahogany. It is difficult to believe men when they 
unblushingly declare that they go to sea for pleasure. 

Ten of us were lodged in a cabin on the upper deck 
where we did very well, except that for one-half of the 
time we were too sick to eat anything, and for the other 
half we were rolling and tumbling about in such a manner 
that we could think of nothing but keeping off of the 
ceiling. The others were stowed away "amidships," or 
in some other place down stairs, and as all the ports and 
air-holes were shut up, when the steamer began to wallow 
about, they were nearly smothered and their nausea was 
greatly increased. They were compelled to bear it, for 
they could not force their way on deck and they had 
nothing with which to scuttle the ship. 

morgan's cavalry. 373 

When we reached Hilton Head we were transferred to 
the brig "Dragoon" (a small vessel lying in the harbor) 
and she was then anchored under the guns of the frigate 
Wabash' Here we remained five weeks. The weather 
was intensely hot. During the day we were allowed to 
go on deck in reliefs of twenty-five each, and stay alter- 
nate hours, but at night we were forced to remain below 
decks. The ports were kept shut for fear that some of 
the party would jump out and swim eight miles to the 
South Carolina shore. As there were fifty soldiers guard- 
ing us and three ship's boats (full of men) moored to the 
vessel, there was little reason to apprehend anything of 
the kind. The sharks would have deterred any of us from 
attempting to escape in that way. There was a difference 
of opinion regarding their appetite for human flesh, but 
no man was willing to personally experiment in the 
matter. A constant negotiation was going on during 
these five weeks, between the authorities at Hilton Head 
and Charleston, which seemed once or twice on the point 
of being broken off, but fortunately managed each time to 

We were never taken to Morris' Island, although our 
chances for that situation seemed more than once ex- 
tremely good. At last, on the ist of August, it was au- 
thoritatively announced that we were to be taken on the 
next day to Charleston to be exchanged. Only those who 
have themselves been prisoners can understand what our 
feelings then were — when the hope that had become as 
necessary to our lives as the breath we drew was at length 
about to be realized. That night there was little sleep 
among the fifty, but they passed it in alternate raptures 
of congratulation at their good luck, or shivering appre- 
hension lest, after all, something might occur to prevent it. 

But when the next day came, and we were all trans- 
ferred to a steamer and her head was turned to Charles- 
ton, we began to master all doubts and fears. We reached 
Charleston harbor very early on the morning of the 3d, 
lay at anchor for two or three hours, and then steamed 

374 morgan's cavalry. 

slowly in toward the city until we had passed the last 
monitor, and halted again. In a short time a small boat 
came out from Charleston, with the fifty Federal prisoners 
on board and officers of General Jones' staff authorized to 
conclude the exchange. When she came alongside the 
final arrangements were effected, but not until a mooted 
point had threatened to break off the negotiation alto- 
gether. Happily for us, we knew nothing of this difficulty 
until it was all over, but we were made very nervous by 
the delay. When all the details were settled we were 
transferred to the Confederate boat and the Federal of- 
ficers were brought on board of the steamer which we left ; 
then touching hats to the crew we parted from we bade 
our captivity farewell. 

Twelve months of imprisonment, of absence from all 
we loved, was over at last. No man of that party could 
describe his feelings intelligibly — a faint recollection of 
circumstances is all that can be recalled in such a tumult 
of joy. As we passed down the bay the gallant defenders 
ot those works around Charleston, the names of which 
have become immortal, stood upon the parapets and 
cheered us, and we answered like men who were hailing 
for life. The huge guns, which lay like so many grim 
watch-dogs around the city, thundered a welcome, the 
people of the heroic city crowded to the wharves to re- 
ceive us. If anything could repay us for the wretchedness 
of long imprisonment and our forced separation from 
families and friends, we found it in the unalloyed happiness 
of that day. 

General Jones had then (and has now) the profound 
gratitude of fifty of his comrades. Ever doing his duty 
bravely and unflinchingly, he had, now, ransomed from 
the enemy men who would have consented to undergo 
any ordeal for that boon. The citizens of Charleston 
hastened to offer us the traditional hospitality of their city. 
General Jones had informed them of the names of our 
party, and they had settled among themselves where each 
man was to be taken care of. 


Of those who made 


July and August, 18G3. 

facing 374 

morgan's cavalry. 375 

But the recollection of our gallant comrades left behind 
would intrude itself and make us sad, even in the midst of 
our good fortune. Some of them were not released until 
the summer after the close of the war. No men deserve 
more praise for constancy than the Confederate prisoners, 
especially the private soldiers, who in the trials to which 
they were subjected steadfastly resisted every inducement 
to violate the faith they had pledged to the cause. 


Remnant of Morgan's Men Serve Faithfully while Their Leader 
is in Prison — Their Conduct at Chickamauga — Morgan's Own 
Service after His Escape — Fights With Averill and at Dub- 
lin Depot and Crockett's Cave — Last Raid into Kentucky — 
March through the Mountains — Bloody Combat at Mt. 
Sterling — Capture of Lexington — Morgan Wins a Victory at 
Cynthiana — On the Next Day is Defeated — Retreats from 
Kentucky — Death of Morgan — Subsequent Service of His 
Old Command — Battle of Bull's Gap — A Battle by Moon- 
light — The Stoneman Raid — Battle of Marion — After Lee's 
Surrender — Escorts Jefferson Davis from Charlotte, N. C, 
to Washington, Ga. — Last Council of War — Surrender at 

The men who made their escape from Ohio, after the 
disastrous fight at Buffington, marched for many a weary 
mile through the mountains of Virginia. At last, worn 
down and half famished; they gained the Confederate lines, 
and first found rest at the beautiful village of Wytheville, 
in southwestern Virginia. 

Thence they passed leisurely down the fair valley, not 
then scarred by the cruel ravages of war, to the vicinity 
of Knoxville. Colonel Adam R. Johnson then endeavored 
to collect and organize them all. 

Says an officer* who was a valuable assistant in this 
work : 

On the — of August, 1863, Colonel Johnson issued orders, under in- 
structions from General Buckner, department commander, for all men 
belonging to Morgan's command to report to him (Colonel J.) at Mor- 
ristown, in east Tennessee. These orders were published in the Knox- 
ville papers, and upon it becoming known that there was a place of 
rendezvous every man who had been left behind when General Morgan 
started on the Ohio raid now pushed forward eagerly to the point des- 
ignated. In a week or ten days, Colonel Johnson had collected between 
four and five hundred men (including those who made their escape 
from Ohio) in his camp at Morristown. These men were organized 
into two battalions — one commanded by Captain Kirkpatrick, represent- 
ing the first brigade of the division, and the other commanded by Cap- 
tain Dortch, representing the second brigade. 

* Captain James E. Cantrill. 

morgan's cavalry. 377 

The camp was well selected, with wood and water in abundance, and 
plenty of forage in the neighborhood. Colonel J. was making great 
efforts to have the men paid off, and properly armed, clothed, etc., when 
the enemy moved upon Knoxville. The evacuation of that place by our 
troops made it necessary for us to leave our comfortable resting place. 
We immediately broke camp at Morristown, and joined General Buck- 
ner, who was moving to reinforce General Bragg in front of Chatta- 
nooga. * * * * At Calhoun, the men were paid off, and received 
a scanty supply of clothing. Many of them had not been paid before 
for fourteen months. From Calhoun we were ordered to Lafayette, 
from Lafayette to Dalton, thence to Tunnel Hill. On the morning of 
the 18th of September, the whole army moved out for battle. Our small 
force was ordered to report to General Forrest, and did so about 10 
A. M. on the field. We were immediately deployed as skirmishers, 
mounted, in front of Hood's division of Longstreet's corps, just come 
from Virginia. As the men galloped by Forrest, he called to them in 
language which inspired them with still higher enthusiasm. He urged 
them to do their whole duty in the battle. He spoke of their chief, who 
had been insulted with a felon's treatment and was then lying in the 
cell of a penitentiary. He gave them "Morgan" for a battle-cry, and 
bade them maintain their old reputation. 

The infantry objected to having "the d — d cavalry" placed in front 
of them in a fight. But they did not easily catch up with "the d — d 
cavalry." After moving briskly forward for perhaps half a mile, 
through the tangled undergrowth of pine, the clear crack of rifles told 
that the enemy was on the alert. Driving in their pickets, we pushed 
on and found a regiment of cavalry in line to receive us. This fled 
upon the receipt of the first volley. The undergrowth was too thick 
for maneuvering on horseback, and we were dismounted and advanced 
at double-quick. Our boys were anxious to drive the enemy and keep 
them going without letting the infantry overtake us. The enemy first 
engaged fell back upon a supporting regiment. We soon drove both 
back upon a third. By this time our small "lay out" found the fighting 
rather interesting. Engaging three times our number and attacking 
every position the enemy chose was very glorious excitement, but 
rather more of it than our mouths watered for. Yet no man faltered — 
all rushed on as reckless of the opposing array of danger as of their 
own alignment. * * * 

The enemy had formed in the edge of a woods, in front of which was 
an open field. This field was fought over again and again, each side 
charging alternately and forced back. At last a charge upon our part, 
led by Lieutenant-Colonel Martin, was successful. The enemy fell 
back still farther. We now saw clearly from many indications, and 
were told by prisoners, that the Federal line of battle, the main force, 
was not far off. We, therefore, moved more cautiously. Just about 
sundown, we found, the enemy's cavalry drawn up directly in front of 
the infantry, but they made little resistance. After one or two volleys 
they fell back behind the protecting "web-feet." Night falling stopped 
all further operations for that day. We camped in line of battle, and 
picketed in front. On the morning of the 19th, we were ordered to 
report to Colonel Scott, and found him engaging the enemy on our 
extreme right at the "Red House." Colonel Scott gave us position, dis- 

378 morgan's cavalry. 

mounted, and put us in. The fighting continued at intervals through- 
out the day. 

Late in the evening Scott made a vigorous charge and drove the 
enemy handsomely. We learned from prisoners that we had been fight- 
ing a select body of infantry commanded by General Whitaker, of Ken- 
tucky, which had been detailed to guard the ford, here, across the Chick- 
amauga. The fighting ceased at nightfall and we were again camped in 
line of battle. The fighting of the next day was very similar to that of 
the previous ones — the enemy falling back slowly with his face toward 
us. But late in the evening the retreat became a rout. The army made 
no attack on the 21st. In the afternoon Colonel Scott was sent with his 
brigade over Missionary Ridge into the valley and engaged a few scat- 
tered cavalry and an Illinois regiment of infantry — capturing nearly all 
of the latter before they could reach the works around Chattanooga. 
Forming his brigade Colonel Scott sent a portion of our command, on 
foot, to reconnoiter the enemy's position. The reconnoitering party 
drove in the pickets, took the outside rifle pits, and forced the enemy 
to their breastworks and forts. 

This closed the battle of Chickamauga — Morgan's men firing the first 
and last shot in that terrible struggle. 

General Forrest and Colonel Scott both complimented our little com- 
mand more than once during the battle. Immediately after the battle, 
the entire cavalry of the Army of Tennessee was actively employed. 
The two battalions of our command were separated, Dortch going 
with Forrest up the Chattanooga and Knoxville railroad. Kirkpatrick 
went with Wheeler on his raid through Middle Tennessee. Dortch 
was in the fight (against Woolford) at Philadelphia — in the skirmishes 
at Loudon and Marysville, and was at the siege of Knoxville. Kirk- 
patrick's battalion was in the fights at McMinnville, Murfreesboro, 
Shelbyville and Sugar creek. In the latter fight Wheeler's whole force 
fell back rapidly, and Kirkpatrick was kept in the rear until we reached 
the Tennessee river. When we returned to the army, Kirkpatrick's 
battalion was placed on severe picket duty — its line extending from the 
mouth of the Chickamauga up the Tennessee some three miles, where it 
connected with the line of the First Kentucky Cavalry. 

This duty was exceedingly heavy. The pickets stood in squads of 
three every four hundred yards with mounted patrols to ride the length 
of the whole line. One would suppose that men who had ridden 
through the States of Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Virginia and 
Georgia, and been in as many as twenty-five or thirty engagements in 
the space of three months, would be completely worn out, discouraged, 
and disheartened. Not so, however, the few left were willing and anx- 
ious to thoroughly do soldier's duty. 

The writer goes on to narrate how after all these trials 
came the order to dismount Morgan's men — generous re- 
ward for their toil and sacrifices. He speaks of Forrest's 
gallant stand against it. He speaks, too, of unhappy dis- 
sensions among officers which added to the discouraging 
condition of the little command. 


But the brave fellows patiently endured all — watching 
and hoping fondly for the return of the imprisoned leader. 
The two battalions were at length placed in a brigade 
commanded by Colonel Grigsby, in which were the Ninth 
and First Kentucky. 

The writer describes the dreary days and long cold 
nights of that winter. The arduous duty, men shivering 
through the dark, dragging hours, with eyes fixed on the 
enemy's signal lights burning on Waldron's Ridge and 
Lookout Mountain. Then the Federal battalions pour- 
ing, one night, across the river — the bright blaze and 
quick crash of rifles suddenly breaking out along the 
picket line. The hurried saddling and rapid reinforce- 
ment, but the steady Federal advance driving the cavalry 
back. Even amid the snarl of musketry and roar of 
cannon could be heard the splash of the boats plying from 
shore to shore. Couriers were sent to army headquarters 
with the information, but, losing their way in the pitch 
darkness, did not report until daylight. Next day came 
the grand Federal attack and the terrible and unaccount- 
able "stampede" of the entire Confederate army from 
Missionary Ridge — that army which a few weeks before 
had won the great victory of Chickamauga. 

When General Bragg halted at Dalton, this brigade was 
again posted in front and suffered, hungry, half clad (many 
bare-footed) through that awful winter. 

General Morgan made his way safely after his escape to 
the Confederate lines. All along his route through South 
Carolina and Georgia he was met by a series of heart-felt 
ovations. All the people united in greeting him. The 
highest and lowest in the land were alike eager to do him 
honor. The recollection of his former career and the 
romantic incidents of his escape combined to create a 
wonderful interest in him. Perhaps no man ever received 
such a welcome from the people of his choice. At Rich- 
mond, the interest manifested in him knew no bounds. 
He was the guest of the city for weeks, but none others 
felt the true and earnest satisfaction at his deliverance and 

380 morgan's cavalry. 

return which repaid the devoted band of his followers who 
had so anxiously looked for him. The Morgan men felt, 
in the knowledge that their idolized leader was safe, a con- 
solation for all that they had endured. 

General Morgan's first care, upon arriving at Rich- 
mond, was to strongly urge measures which he thought 
would conduct, if not to the release, at least to a mitiga- 
tion of the rigorous treatment of his officers and men in 
prison. He repeatedly brought the subject to the notice 
of the Confederate authorities. 

General Morgan was naturally desirous of having all of 
the men of his old command assigned him, but in this he 
was greviously disappointed. Breckinridge's regiment, 
the Ninth Kentucky, was positively refused him; nor was 
he permitted to have Dortch's battalion, although it was 
composed of men from more than one regiment of his old 
division, the bulk of which was in prison. Kirkpatrick's 
battalion petitioned to be assigned to him, immediately 
that the news of his arrival within the Confederate lines 
was known. General Morgan was, in this respect, the vic- 
tim of an utterly absurd policy regarding organization and 
discipline, which was prevalent about this time among the 
military sages at Richmond. Some other equally insane 
idea having just gone out of date, this one was seized on 
with all the enthusiasm with which theorists adopt fancies 
costing them nothing but the exercise of a crazy imagina- 
tion. It is hard to combat a fantasy. Three years of war- 
fare had elapsed, and the red-tape and closet warriors sud- 
denly discovered and gravely declared a reform which was 
to produce a military millennium. All officers were to be 
removed from the commands with which they had served 
during these three years and placed elsewhere. This 
reform was to pervade the army. This separation of 
officers and men who had learned mutual trust in each 
other was intended to produce a perfect and harmonious 
discipline. A commander who had acquired the confi- 
dence and love of his men was, in the opinion of the Rich- 
mond gentry, a dangerous man. Such a feeling between 

morgan's cavalry. 381 

troops and officers was highly irregular and injurious. 
They thought that the best way to improve the morale 
of the army was to destroy all that (in common opinion) 
goes to make it. They said that this policy would make 
the army "a machine," and it would be difficult to con- 
ceive of a more utterly worthless machine than it would 
have then been. 

In the spring of 1864, General Morgan was sent to take 
command of the Department of Southwestern Virginia, 
and which included also a portion of east Tennessee. The 
forces at his disposal were two Kentucky cavalry brigades 
and the militia, or "reserves," of that region. One of 
these brigades of cavalry had been previously commanded 
by General George B. Hodge, and was subsequently com- 
manded by General Cosby. The other was commanded 
by Colonel Giltner. Both were composed of fine material 
and were together some two thousand or twenty-five hun- 
dred strong. 

Kirkpatrick's battalion had passed the latter part of the 
winter and early spring at Decatur, Ga., a small village 
near Atlanta. Here it enjoyed comparative rest and com- 
fort. The men recovered from the effects of previous 
hardships, and the effective strength of the command was 
more than doubled by men who escaped from prison, or 
who, having been absent upon various pretexts, hurried 
back as soon as they learned of General Morgan's return. 

Leaving Decatur in April, the battalion marched leis- 
urely through Georgia and South and North Carolina — 
receiving everywhere the greatest kindness at the hands 
of the citizens— and reported, in early May, to General 
Morgan at Saltville in western Virginia. Almost imme- 
diately after its arrival it was called upon to again confront 
the enemy. 

Upon the 8th or 9th of May, the intelligence was re- 
ceived of the advance of strong columns of the enemy; 
the department was threatened, simultaneously, by a raid 
upon the salt works and the approach of a heavy force of 
infantry and cavalry to Dublin depot, not far from New 

382 morgan's cavalry. 

River bridge. The cavalry column advancing upon Salt- 
ville was commanded by General Averill, and the other by 
General Crook. It was of the utmost importance to re- 
pulse both. The former, if successful, would capture the 
salt works and the lead mines near Wytheville, and the 
loss of either would have been a great and irreparable dis- 
aster; the latter, if established at New river or that 
vicinity, would entirely cut off communication with Rich- 
mond, prevent the transmission of supplies, from all the 
region westward, to General Lee's army and might do in- 
calculable damages besides. 

The dismounted cavalry of the department — most of 
which were men of Morgan's old division — about four hun- 
dred strong, were sent to reinforce the troops under Gen- 
eral Jenkins. The latter had fallen back before Crook to 
Dublin depot. General Morgan prepared with Giltner's 
brigade and the mounted men of his old command, now 
formed into two battalions commanded by Captains Kirk- 
patrick and Cassell and about six hundred strong in all, 
to fight Averill. The two battalions of Kirkpatrick and 
Cassell, or the "Morgan Brigade," as the organization was 
then called, were placed under the command of Lieuten- 
ant-Colonel Alston. 

On the 9th General Morgan became convinced, from 
reports of his scouts, that Averill did not intend to attack 
Saltville but that he was about to march on Wytheville. 
Leaving Saltville on the 10th, General Morgan followed 
upon the track of the enemy to the junction of the Jeffer- 
sonville and Wytheville and Jeffersonville and Crab 
Orchard roads. Here Averill had taken the Crab Orchard 
road, designing, Morgan believed, to induce a close pur- 
suit. Had Morgan followed upon his track, Averill, by 
the judicious employment of a comparatively small force, 
could have held him in check in the mountains and could 
himself have turned upon Wytheville, captured the 
provost guard there, destroyed the military stores, the 
lead mines, and torn up the railroad, rendering it useless 
for weeks. Morgan therefore moved directly through 

morgan's cavalry. 383 

Burk's garden to Wytheville, thus (taking the shorter 
road) anticipating his wily adversary. Reaching Wythe- 
ville some hours in advance of his command, General Mor- 
gan placed a small detachment of General Jones' brigade 
of cavalry, which he found there, under Colonel George 
Crittenden and ordered that officer to occupy a small pass 
in the mountain between "Crocket's Cove" and Wythe- 
ville, through which the enemy would have to advance 
upon the town or else be forced to make a wide detour. 

On the afternoon of the nth, the command reached 
Wytheville and were received by the terrified citizens with 
the heartiest greetings. The little town had been once 
captured by the Federals and a portion of it burned. The 
ladies clapped their hands and waved their handkerchiefs 
joyfully in response to the assurances of the men that the 
enemy should not come in sight. Fortunately, while the 
men were resting near Wytheville, their attention was 
attracted by the efforts of a squad of citizens to handle an 
old six-pounder which "belonged to the town." A good 
deal of laughter was occasioned by their impromptu method. 

General Morgan, having no artillery, at once took it 
and called for volunteers to man it. Edgar Davis and 
Jerome Clark of Captain Cantrill's company, and practical 
artillerists, came forward and were placed in charge of the 

About 3.30 P M. the enemy engaged Colonel Critten- 
den at the gap. The column was immediately put in 
motion and marched briskly in the driection of the firing. 
When near the gap, it filed to the left and moving around 
the mountain and through the skirting woods was soon in 
line, upon the right flank and threatening the rear of the 
enemy. Alston's brigade was formed on the right, occupy- 
ing an open field extending from Giltner's left to the 
mountain. The enemy at the first intimation of this move- 
ment had withdrawn from the mouth of the gap and was 
advantageously posted upon a commanding ridge. Both 
brigades were dismounted, under a smart fire from sharp- 
shooters, and advanced rapidly, driving in the skirmishers ; 

3 84 morgan's cavalry. 

and coming down upon the enemy (before his formation 
was entirely completed) they dislodged him from his 

Falling back about five hundred yards he took position 
again around the dwelling and buildings upon Mr. 
Crockett's farm, and maintained it obstinately for some 
time. The piece of artillery, well served by the gallant 
volunteers, did excellent service here. General Morgan, 
himself, assisted to handle it. The enemy were dislodged 
from this position also. The fight continued until after 
nightfall, and was a succession of charges upon the one 
side and retreats upon the other The Federal troops 
were well trained and their officers behaved with great 

General Morgan's loss in this engagement, in killed and 
wounded, was about fifty. The enemy's loss was more 
severe. Nearly one hundred prisoners were taken and 
more than that number of horses. General Morgan was 
cordial in his praise of the alacrity, courage, and endurance 
of officers and men. It was, indeed, a very important 
affair and a defeat would have been exceedingly disastrous. 

The dismounted men who had been sent under Colonel 
Smith to reinforce General Jenkins were engaged in the 
hotly contested action at Dublin depot and behaved in a 
manner which gained them high commendation. 

Colonel Smith reached Dublin about 10 A. M. on the 
iotli, and learned that the forces under the command of 
General Jenkins were being hard pressed by the enemy 
and that the gallant general was severely wounded. 

Colonel Smith immediately marched with his command, 
about four hundred strong, toward the scene of the action. 
After proceeding a short distance, he found the Confeder- 
ate forces in full retreat and some disorder. He pressed 
on toward the front, through the retreating mass. 

Reporting to Colonel McCausland (who assumed com- 
mand upon the fall of General Jenkins) and who was 
bravely struggling with a rear guard to check the enemy's 
pursuit, Colonel Smith was instructed to form his com- 






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morgan's cavalry. 385 

mand in the woods upon the left of the road and endeavor 
to cover the retreat. This was promptly done, and in a 
few minutes Smith received the pursuing enemy with a 
heavy and unexpected volley. Driving back the foremost 
assailants, Colonel Smith advanced in turn and pressed his 
success for an hour. Then the entire hostile force coming 
up, he was forced back slowly and in good order to Dublin, 
which had already been evacuated by the troops of Colonel 

Colonel Smith followed thence after McCausland to 
New River bridge, crossing the river just before sunset 
and encamping on the opposite bank. After some 
skirmishing on the next morning, the Confederates re- 
treated, giving up the position. The fight on the 10th was 
a most gallant one — highly creditable to the commanding 
officer, subordinates and men. Among the killed was C. 
S. Cleburne (brother of General Pat Cleburne), one of the 
most promising young officers in the army. General Mor- 
gan had made him a captain, a short time previously, for un- 
usual gallantry. 

In the latter part of May General Morgan undertook 
the expedition known as the "last" or "June raid" into 
Kentucky. He had many reasons for undertaking it. He 
was impatient to retrieve, in some manner, the losses of 
the Ohio raid by another campaign of daring conception 
and, he hoped, successful execution. He wished to re- 
cruit his thinned ranks with Kentuckians, and to procure 
horses for the men who had none. Moreover, there were 
excellent military reasons for this movement. Averill and 
Cook were not far off and could pounce down at any 
moment, but were supposed to be awaiting reinforce- 
ments, without which they would not return. These rein- 
forcements were coming from Kentucky under Burbridge 
and Hobson, and consisted of all or nearly all the troops 
in Kentucky available for active service. 

General Morgan despaired of successfully resisting all 
these forces if they united and bore down on the depart- 
ment. But he believed that, if he could move into Ken- 


tucky and gain the rear of those coming thence before 
the junction with the others was effected, he could defeat 
the plan. The Kentucky troops would turn and pursue 
him, and the attack upon the department would not be 
made. In short, he hoped to avoid invasion and attack by 
assuming the offensive. 

He wrote on the 31st of May to General S. Cooper, ad- 
jutant-general, detailing his plan and the information upon 
which it was based. In this letter, he said : 

While General Buckner was in command of this department, he in- 
structed me to strike a blow at the enemy in Kentucky. 

As I was on the eve of executing this order, the rapid movement of 
the enemy from the Kanawha valley, in the direction of the Tennessee 
and Virginia Railroad, made it necessary that I should remain to co- 
operate with the other forces for the defense of this section. Since the 
repulse of the enemy, I have obtained the consent of General Jones 
to carry out the original plan agreed on between General Buckner and 

I have just received information that General Hobson left Mount 
Sterling on the 23rd inst, with six regiments of cavalry (about three 
thousand strong), for Louisa, on the Sandy. This force he has collected 
from all the garrisons in middle and southeastern Kentucky. At 
Louisa there is another force of about two thousand five hundred cav- 
alry under a colonel of a Michigan regiment, recently sent to that 
vicinity. It is the reported design of General Hobson to unite with this 
latter force, and cooperate with Generals Averill and Crook in another 
movement upon the salt works and lead mines of southwestern Vir- 
ginia. This information has determined me to move at once into Ken- 
tucky, and thus distract the plans of the enemy by initiating a movement 
within his lines. My force will be about two thousand two hundred 
men. I expect to be pursued by the force at Louisa, which I will en- 
deavor to avoid. There will be nothing in the State to retard my pro- 
gress but a few scattered provost guards. 

In the latter part of May General Morgan commenced 
the movement indicated in this letter. His division con- 
sisted of three brigades. The first, under command of 
Colonel Giltner, was between ten and eleven hundred 
strong, and was a magnificent body of hardy, dashing 
young men, drawn chiefly from the middle and eastern 
counties of Kentucky. The second brigade was composed 
of the mounted men of the old Morgan division. It con- 
sisted of three small battalions, commanded respectively 
by Lieutenant-Colonel Bowles and Majors Cassell and 
Kirkpatrick. It was between five and six hundred strong; 

morgan's cavalry. 387 

and was commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Alston. The 
third brigade was composed of the dismounted men of 
both commands, the greater number, however, being from 
the second brigade. It was organized into two battalions, 
commanded respectively by Lieutenant-Colonel Martin and 
Major Geo. R. Diamond, a brave and exceedingly com- 
petent officer of Giltner's brigade. This brigade was 
about eight hundred strong and was commanded by 
Colonel D. Howard Smith. No artillery was taken; it 
could not have been transported over the roads which 
General Morgan expected to travel. The column reached 
Pound Gap on the 2d of June and found it occupied by a 
force of the enemy. Colonel Smith was ordered to clear 
the path, and pushing his brigade forward he soon did it. 
Several horses were captured, which was accepted as a happy 

Sending a scouting party to observe the direction taken 
by the retreating enemy and to ascertain if they joined a 
larger force and turned again, General Morgan pressed 
on, hoping to reach Mount Sterling — the general Federal 
depot of supplies and most important post in that portion 
of Kentucky — before General Burbridge could return 
from the extreme eastern part of the State. As Burbridge 
was encumbered with artillery and would be two or three 
days in getting the news, General Morgan confidently be- 
lieved that he could reach Mount Sterling first. The 
mountainous country of southeastern Kentucky, so rug- 
ged, steep and inhospitable as to seem almost impossible 
of access, had to be traversed for this purpose. More 
than one hundred and fifty miles of this region was 
marched over in seven days. The dismounted men be- 
haved heroically. Straining up the steep mountain sides, 
making their toilsome way through gloomy and deep 
ravines, over tremendous rocks and every formidable 
obstacle which nature collects in such regions against the 
intrusion of man, footsore, bleeding, panting, they yet 
never faltered or complained, and richly won the enthusia- 
astic eulogy of their commander. They marched from 

388 morgan's cavalry. 

twenty-two to twenty-seven miles each day. This march 
was terribly severe upon the mounted commands also. 
The fatigue and lack of forage caused many horses to 
break down, and the dismounted brigade was largely aug- 
mented. Colonel Giltner stated that he lost more than 
two hundred horses in his brigade. 

On the 6th of June Colonel Smith was transferred to 
the command of the second brigade. Lieutenant-Colonel 
Martin was then assigned to command of the third. On 
the 7th, finding that he would succeed in anticipating Bur- 
bridge at Mount Sterling and that he would not require 
his whole force to take the place, General Morgan dis- 
patched Captain Jenkins with fifty men to destroy the 
bridges upon the Frankfort and Louisville Railroad to 
prevent troops from arriving from Indiana for the defense 
of Lexington and central Kentucky. He sent Major 
Chenoweth to destroy bridges on the Kentucky Central 
Railroad to prevent the transportation of troops from Cin- 
cinnati, and he sent Captain Peter Everett with one hun- 
dred men to capture Maysville. General Morgan in- 
structed these officers to accomplish their respective com- 
missions thoroughly but promptly, to create as much ex- 
citement as possible, occasion the concentration of forces 
already in the State at points widely apart, magnify his 
strength and circulate reports which would bewilder and 
baffie any attempt to calculate his movements, and to 
meet him within three of four days at Lexington. 

When the command emerged from the sterile country 
of the mountains into the fair lands of central Kentucky, 
the change had a perceptible and happy effect upon the 
spirits of the men. Night had closed around them, on the 
evening of the 7th, while they were still struggling 
through the ghastly defiles or up the difficult paths of the 
"Rebel trace" and still environed by the bleak mountain 
scenery. During the night, they arrived at the confines 
of the beautiful "Blue Grass country," and when the sun 
arose, clear and brilliant, a lovely and smiling landscape 
had replaced the lowering, stony, dungeon-like region 

morgan's cavalry. 389 

whence they had at last escaped. The contrast seemed 
magical; the song, jest, and laugh burst forth again and 
the men drew new life and courage from the scene. 

In the early part of the day, the 8th, the column reached 
the vicinity of Mount Sterling, and preparations were 
made for an immediate attack upon the place. On the 
previous day Captain Lawrence Jones, commanding the 
advance guard, had been sent with his guard to take posi- 
tion upon the main road between Mount Sterling and 
Lexington, and Captain Jackson was sent with one com- 
pany to take position between Mount Sterling and Paris. 
These officers were instructed to prevent communication, 
by either telegraph or courier, between Mount Sterling 
and the other two places. The enemy was simultaneously 
attacked by detachments from the first and second 
brigades and soon forced to surrender with little loss on 
either side. Major Holliday, of the first brigade, made a 
gallant charge upon the encampment which drove them in 
confusion into the town. Three hundred and eighty pris- 
oners were taken, a large quantity of stores and a num- 
ber of wagons and teams. 

Leaving Colonel Giltner to destroy the stores and pro- 
vide for the remounting, upon the captured horses, of a 
portion of the dismounted men, General Morgan marched 
immediately for Lexington with the second brigade. Bur- 
bridge, making a wonderful march — moving ninety miles 
in the last thirty hours — reached Mount Sterling before 
daybreak on the 9th. Then occurred a great disaster to 
General Morgan's plans and it fell upon the brave boys 
who had so patiently endured, on foot, the long, painful 
march. Some of these men had marched from Huyter's 
gap in Virginia to Mount Sterling, a distance of two hun- 
dred and thirty miles, in ten days. Their shoes were worn 
to tatters and their feet raw and bleeding, yet on the last 
day they pressed on twenty-seven miles. Encamping not 
far from the town but to the east of it, Colonel Martin 
directed Lieutenant-Colonel Brent, who had been left 
with him in command of some forty or fifty men to act as 

390 morgan's cavalry. 

rear guard, to establish his guard at least one mile from 
the encampment and picket the road whence the danger 
might come. Lieutenant-Colonel Brent had been as- 
signed to General Morgan's command a short time pre- 
viously to this expedition and was not one of his old of- 
ficers. Information which had been received a day or two 
before had induced the belief that Burbridge was not near. 
Scouts sent by General Morgan to observe his movements 
had returned, reporting that he had moved on toward Vir- 
ginia. This information convinced General Morgan that 
he would not arrive at Mount Sterling for two or three 
days after the 8th, although satisfied that he would come. 

Colonel Giltner's command was encamped some dis- 
tance from Martin's and upon a different road, and was 
not in a position to afford the latter any protection. 
Brent, neglecting the precaution enjoined by Martin, 
posted his guard only one or two hundred yards from the 
encampment of the dismounted men and extended his 
pickets but a short distance farther. 

On the next morning, about 3 o'clock, the enemy dashed 
into the camp, the pickets giving no warning, and shot 
and rode over the men as they lay around their fires. 
Many were killed before they arose from their blankets. 
Notwithstanding the disadvantage of the surprise, the 
men stood to their arms and fighting resolutely, although 
without concert, soon drove the assailants out of the camp. 
Being then formed by their officers, they presented a for- 
midable front to the enemy, who returned, in greater 
strength, as fresh numbers arrived, to the attack. The 
fight was close and determined upon both sides. Colonel 
Martin's headquarters were at a house nearby. He was 
awakened by the rattling shots and springing upon his 
horse rode toward the camp to find the enemy between 
himself and his men. Without hesitation he rode at full 
speed through the hostile throng, braving the volleys of 
both lines, and rejoined his command. The enemy 
brought up a piece of artillery, which was taken by a des- 
perate effort, but was soon recaptured. The poor fellows, 


undaunted by weariness, the sudden attack upon them, 
and their desperate situation, fought with unflinching cour- 
age for more than an hour. 

At length Colonel Martin fell back, cutting his way- 
through Mount Sterling, which was occupied by the 
enemy. Two miles from the town he met Colonel Giltner 
and proposed to the latter that, with their combined 
forces, the fight should be renewed. Giltner acceding, it 
was arranged that he should attack in front, while Martin, 
moving around to the other side of the town again, should 
take the enemy in the rear. This being done, the fight 
was pressed again with energy until Martin's ammuni- 
tion failing he was compelled to withdraw. The enemy 
was too much crippled to pursue. In this affair, although 
inflicting severe loss on the enemy, Martin's command 
lost heavily. Fourteen commissioned officers were killed 
and forty privates. Eighty were so severely wounded 
that they could not be removed, one hundred were cap- 
tured and more than that number cut off and dispersed. 
Colonel Martin was twice wounded. 

On the morning of the ioth, General Morgan entered 
L,exington after a slight skirmish. He burned the gov- 
ernment depot and stables and captured a sufficient num- 
ber of horses to mount all of the dismounted men, who 
were then returned to their respective companies in the 
first and second brigades. 

Moving thence to Georgetown, General Morgan sent 
Captain Cooper with one company to demonstrate toward 
Frankfort. Captain Cooper ably executed his orders, 
alarming and confining to the fortifications around the 
town a much superior force of the enemy. 

From Georgetown General Morgan directed his march 
to Cynthiana, reaching that place on the morning of the 
nth. After a sharp fight the garrison, four hundred 
strong, was captured. Unfortunately a portion of the 
town was burned in the engagement, the enemy having 
occupied the houses. While the fight was going on in 
town, Colonel Giltner engaged a body of the enemy, 


fifteen hundred strong, under General Hobson. General 
Morgan, after the surrender of the garrison, took Cassell's 
battalion and, gaining Hobson's rear, compelled him also 
to surrender. 

A large quantity of stores were captured and destroyed 
at Cynthiana. General Hobson was paroled and sent, 
under escort of Captain C. C. Morgan and two other of- 
ficers, to Cincinnati, to effect, if possible, the exchange of 
himself and officers for certain of General Morgan's 
officers then in prison and, failing in that, to report as 
prisoner within the Confederate lines. He was not per- 
mitted to negotiate the exchange and his escort were de- 
tained for some weeks. 

On the 12th, the command numbering, after all losses 
and deducting details to guard prisoners and wagon train 
and to destroy the track and bridges for some miles of the 
Kentucky Central Railroad, some twelve hundred men, 
was attacked by a force of infantry, cavalry, and artillery 
under General Burbridge which General Morgan esti- 
mated at five thousand two hundred strong. Giltner's 
command had been encamped on the Paris road and was 
first engaged by the enemy. This brigade was almost en- 
tirely out of ammunition. The cartridges captured the 
day before did not fit the guns with which it was armed. 
Giltner soon became hotly engaged with the advancing 
enemy and although the second brigade moved to his sup- 
port, their united strength could oppose no effectual re- 

General Morgan ordered the entire command to retreat 
upon the Augusta road and charged with the mounted 
reserve to cover the withdrawal. The action was very dis- 
astrous. Colonel Giltner, cut off from the Augusta road, 
was forced to retreat upon the Leesburg road. Colonel 
Smith, at first doubtful of the condition of affairs, did not 
immediately take part in the fight. His gallant and 
efficient adjutant, Lieutenant Arthur Andrews, rode to 
the scene of the fight and, returning, declared that 
Colonel Giltner required his prompt support. Colonel 


Smith instantly put his brigade in motion and was soon 
in front of the enemy. 
He says : 

My brigade, galLntly led by its battalion commanders, attacked the 
enemy with great spirit and drove him back along its entire length. The 
first battalion moved with more rapidity than the third, doubtless on 
account of the better nature of the ground it had to traverse, until it 
swung around almost at right angles with the line of the third battalion. 
Hastening to correct this defect, I rode to Colonel Bowles, but before 
he could obey my instructions a heavy force was massed upon him, 
and after a desperate contest he was forced back. I directed him to 
reform his command behind a stone fence on the Ruddle's Mill road, 
which he did promptly and checked the enemy with heavy loss. At 
this juncture I looked for Kirkpatrick, who had been holding his line 
with his usual energy and determination. I found that his battalion 
had been separated — two companies, commanded respectively by Cap- 
tain Cantrill and Lieutenant Gardner, had been fighting hard on his left, 
while the other two were acting with the first battalion. Captain Kirk- 
patrick, severely wounded, was forced to quit the field. About the same 
time, gallant Bowles was driven from his second position, strong as it 
was, by overpowering numbers. 

Colonel Smith now retreated through Cynthiana, seek- 
ing to rejoin General Morgan on the Augusta road. He 
suddenly found himself intercepted and surrounded on 
three sides by the enemy, while upon the other side was 
the Licking river. Seeing the condition of affairs, the 
men became unmanageable and dashed across the river. 
Having been reformed on the other side, they charged a 
body of cavalry which then confronted them and made 
good their retreat, although scattered and in confusion. 

Collecting all the men who could be gathered upon the 
Augusta road, General Morgan paroled his prisoners and 
rapidly retreated. His loss in this action was very heavy, 
and he was compelled to march instantly back to Virginia. 
Moving through Flemingsburg and West Liberty, he 
passed on over the mountains and reached Abingdon on 
the 20th of June. On this raid, great and inexcusable ex- 
cesses were committed, but, except in two or three 
flagrant instances, they were committed by men who had 
never before served with General Morgan. The men of 
his old division and Giltner's fine brigade were rarely 
guilty. General Morgan had accomplished the result he 


had predicted, in averting the invasion of southwestern 
Virginia, but at heavy cost to himself. 

Upon his return to southwestern Virginia, General 
Morgan applied himself assiduously to collect all of his 
men, however detached or separated from him, and cor- 
rect the organization and discipline of his command. It 
was a far less easy task then than ever before. Not only 
was a conviction stealing upon the Confederate soldiery 
(and impairing the efficiency of the most manly and 
patriotic) that the fiat had gone forth against us, and that 
no exercise of courage and fortitude could avert the doom, 
but the demoralizing effects of a long war, and habitude 
to its scenes and passions, had rendered even the best men 
callous and reckless, and to a certain extent intractable to 
influences which had formerly been all potent with them 
as soldiers. Imagine the situation in which the Confed- 
erate soldier was placed. Almost destitute of hope that 
the cause for which he fought would triumph and fighting 
on from instinctive obstinate pride, no longer receiving 
from the people — themselves hopeless and impoverished 
almost to famine by the draining demands of the war — the 
sympathy and hearty encouragement once accorded him ; 
almost compelled (for comfort if not for existence) to 
practice oppression and wrong upon his own countrymen, 
is it surprising that he became wild and lawless, that he 
adopted a rude creed in which strict conformity to military 
regulations and a nice obedience to general orders held a 
not very prominent place? This condition obtained in a 
far greater degree with the cavalry employed in the "out- 
post" departments than with the infantry or the soldiery 
of the large armies. 

Many Confederate cavalrymen so situated left their 
commands altogether and became guerrillas, salving their 
consciences with the thought that the desertion was not 
to the enemy. These men, leading a comparatively luxur- 
ious life and receiving, from some people, a mistaken and 
foolish admiration, attracted to the same career young 
men who (but for the example and the sympathy accorded 


the guerrilla) would never had quitted their colors and 
their duty. Kentucky, was at one time, just before the 
close of the war, swarming with these guerrillas. It was of 
no use to threaten them with punishment; they had no 
idea of being caught. Besides Burbridge shot all that he 
could lay hands on, and (for their sins) many prisoners 
(guilty of no offense) selected at random or by lot, from 
the pens where he kept them for the purpose, were butch- 
ered by this insensate bloodhound. Not only did General 
Morgan have to contend with difficulties thus arising, but 
now, for the first time, he suffered from envy, secret ani- 
mosity, and detraction within his own command. Many 
faithful friends still surrounded him, many more lay in 
prison, but he began to meet with enmity in his own camp. 
Reports of excesses committed by some of the troops in 
Kentucky had reached Richmond and created much feel- 
ing. General Morgan had instructed his inspector-gen- 
eral, Captain Bryant H. Allen, to investigate the accusa- 
tions against the various parties suspected of guilt and to 
prefer charges against those who should appear to be im- 
plicated. All sorts of communications, the most informal, 
irregular and some of them improper, were forwarded to 
Richmond by General Morgan's subordinates, often un- 
known to him because not passing through his office, and 
they were received by the Secretary of War, Mr. Seddon, 
without questioning and with avidity. It was at length 
announced that a commission would be appointed to sit 
at Abingdon and inquire into these charges, and also into 
the charge that General Morgan had undertaken the raid 
into Kentucky without orders. 

While in daily expectation of the arrival of these com- 
missioners, the sudden irruption of the enemy into that 
part of the country which was occupied by his command 
caused General Morgan to proceed to the threatened 
points. Colonels Smith and Giltner and a portion of Gen- 
eral Vaughan's brigade which was stationed in east Ten- 
nessee under Colonel Bradford, were driven back to Car- 
ter's Station, on the Wetauga river, some thirty-five miles 

396 morgan's cavalry. 

from Abingdon. When General Morgan reached that 
place and took command of the troops assembled there, 
the enemy were retreating. He followed as closely as pos- 
sible until he had reoccupied the territory whence the Con- 
federates had been driven. While at Greenville, a small 
town upon the Tennessee and Virginia Railroad, seventy- 
two miles from Abingdon and eighteen from Bull's Gap, 
where a portion of his troops was stationed, he had occa- 
sion to revoke the parole granted a few days previously to 
a wounded Federal officer, assistant adjutant-general to 
General Gillem, who was staying at the house of a Mrs. 
Williams, where General Morgan had made his headquar- 
ters. The daughter-in-law of this lady, Mrs. Lucy Wil- 
liams, a Union woman and bitterly opposed to the Con- 
federate cause and troops, was detected with a letter writ- 
ten by this officer, accurately detailing the number, condi- 
tion and position of General Morgan's forces, which letter 
she was to have sent to Colonel Gillem. Dr. Cameron, 
General Morgan's chaplain, discovered the letter in a 
prayer book where it had been deposited by the lady. 
This being a clear violation of his parole, General Morgan 
sent the officer to Lynchburg, to be placed in prison. The 
younger Mrs. Williams (his friend) resented this treat- 
ment very much, declaring that in his condition it might 
prove fatal to him. 

This incident is related because it has been thought to 
have had a direct influence in causing General Morgan's 
death. When General Morgan returned to Abingdon, he 
found an excitement still prevailing regarding the investi- 
gation but the members of the commission had not yet 

I met him, then, for the first time since he had made his 
escape or I had been exchanged. He was greatly changed. 
His face wore a weary, care-worn expression and his man- 
ner was totally destitute of its former ardor and enthusi- 
asm. He spoke bitterly, but with no' impatience, of the 
clamor against him and seemed saddest about the condi- 
tion of his command. He declared that if he had been 


successful in the last day's fight at Cynthiana he would 
have been enabled to hold Kentucky for months; that 
every organized Federal force which could be promptly 
collected to attack him could have then been disposed of, 
and that he had assurance of obtaining a great number of 
recruits. He spoke with something of his old sanguine 
energy only when proclaiming his confidence that he 
could have achieved success unparalleled in his entire 
career, if fortune had favored him in that fight. But no 
word of censure of any one escaped him. It had never 
been his habit to charge the blame of failure upon his sub- 
ordinates, and tried so sorely as he was at this time by 
malignant calumny, he was too proud to utter a single re- 
proach. A letter which he intended to forward to the 
Secretary of War, but the transmission of which his death 
prevented, shows his sense of the treatment he had re- 
ceived. This letter was written just after the conversa- 
tion above mentioned occurred, while he was again con- 
fronting the enemy and immediately before he was killed. 
I can not better introduce it than by first giving the letter 
of the officer who forwarded it to me, and who was for 
more than a year adjutant-general of the Department of 
Southwestern Virginia and East Tennessee, and served for 
some months on General Morgan's staff. He is well 
known to the ex-Confederates of Kentucky as having 
been an exceedingly intelligent, competent, and gallant 
officer, and a gentleman of the highest honor : 

Covington, December — , . 

Dear General: In looking over some old papers (relics of the late 
war), a few days ago, I discovered one which, until then, I did not 
know was in my possession. It is the last letter written by General 
Morgan, and, in a measure, may be considered his dying declaration. 
I can not recollect how it came into my possession, but believe it to 
have been among a bundle of papers that were taken from his body 
after he was killed, and forwarded to department headquarters ; the 
letter of Captain Gwynn, which I will also inclose you, leaves hardly a 
doubt upon that point. 

I have noticed through the press that you were engaged in writing 
a history of "Morgan's Command," and under the impression that this 
paper will be of service to you, I herewith forward it. I am familiar 
with the embarrassments that surrounded the General for some time 
previously to his death, and in reading this last appeal to the powers 

398 morgan's cavalry. 

that had dealt with him so unjustly the remembrance of them still 
awakens in my bosom many emotions of regret. If the General acted 
adversely to his own interests, in endeavoring to adjust quietly the un- 
fortunate affairs that he refers to, those who understood his motives 
for so doing would excuse this error of his judgment when they real- 
ized the feelings that prompted it. He saw his error when it was too 
late to correct it, and died before opportunity was given to vindicate 
his character. I remember distinctly the last conversation I had with 
him, only a few days before his death, and the earnest manner in which 
he spoke of his trouble would have removed from my mind all doubt 
of the perfect rectitude of his intentions, if any had ever existed. I 
remember, too, my visit to Richmond during the month of August, 1864, 
on which occasion, at the general's request, I called upon the Secretary 
of War to lay before him some papers intrusted to my care, and also to 
make some verbal explanations regarding them. The excited, I may 
say the exasperated, manner in which the Honorable Secretary com- 
mented upon the documents left but one impression upon my mind, and 
that was that the War Department had made up its mind that the party 
was guilty and that its conviction should not be offended by any evidence 
to the contrary. The determination to pursue and break the general 
down was apparent to every one, and the Kentucky expedition was to 
be the means to accomplish this end (the reasons for a great deal of 
this enmity are, of course, familiar to you). I endeavored to explain 
to Mr. Seddon the injustice of the charge that General Morgan had 
made this expedition without proper authority (I felt this particularly 
to be my duty, as I was the only person then living who could bear wit- 
ness upon that point), but being unable to obtain a quiet hearing, I left 
his office disappointed and disgusted. 

With the hope that you may succeed in the work you have under- 
taken, believe me, 

Very truly, your friend, 

J. L. Sandford. 

Headquarters Cavalry Department, East Tennessee, 

Jonesboro', Sept. i, 1864. 

Sir: I have the honor to ask your early and careful consideration 
of the statements herein submitted, and, although I am aware that the 
representations which have been made you concerning the matters to 
which these statements relate have so decided your opinion that you 
do not hestitate to give it free expression, I yet feel that it is due to 
myself to declare how false and injurious such representations have been 
and to protest against the injustice which condemns me unheard. 

You will understand that I allude to the alleged robbery of the bank 
of Mount Sterling, Ky., and other outrages which my command is 
charged with having committed during the late expedition into that 
State. I will not, myself, countenance a course of procedure against 
which I feel that I can justly protest, by citing testimony or waging my 
own affirmation in disproof of the accusations which have been filed 
against me at your office; but I will demand a prompt and thorough 


investigation of them all, and will respectfully urge the propriety of 
yourself instituting it. 

If, as has been asserted, I have obstructed all examination into the 
truth of these imputations, a proper regard for the interests of the 
service as well as the ends of justice requires that some higher authority 
shall compel an exposure. Until, very recently, I was ignorant how the 
rumors which had already poisoned the public mind had been received 
and listened to in official circles, and I can not forbear indignant com- 
plaint of the injury done my reputation and usefulness by the encour- 
agement thus given them. 

Allegations, directly implicating me in the excesses above referred to, 
that I had connived at, if I did not incite them, and that I had striven 
to shield the perpetrators from discovery and punishment; allegations, 
the most vague and yet all tending to impeach my character, have ob- 
tained hearing and credence at the department. 

I have not been called on; indeed I may say I have not been per- 
mitted one word in my defense. Permit me to say that an officer's 
reputation may suffer from such causes in official and public opinion, 
and that he may find it difficult, if not impossible, to vindicate it unless 
his superiors assist him by inviting inquiry. I am informed that com- 
munications and documents of various kinds, relating to the alleged 
criminal transactions in Kentucky, have been addressed you by certain 
of my subordinates; and I have been profoundly ignorant of their 
existence until after their receipt and the intended impression had been 
produced. I have but little acquaintance with the forms and regula- 
tions of your office, and I would respectfully ask if communications so 
furnished are not altogether irregular and prejudicial to good order 
and proper discipline? If these parties believe my conduct culpable, is 
it not their plain duty to prefer charges against me and bring me before 
a court-martial ? And if failing to adopt measures suggested alike by 
law, justice and propriety, they pursue a course which tends to weaken 
my authority, impair my reputation and embarrass my conduct, have I 
not the right to expect that their action shall be condemned and them- 
selves reprimanded? Indeed, sir, discipline and subordination have 
been impaired to such an extent in my command by proceedings such 
as I have described that an officer of high rank quitted a responsible 
post, without leave and in direct disobedience to my orders, and repaired 
to Richmond to urge in person his application for assignment to duty 
more consonant with his inclinations. It is, with all due respect, that I 
express my regret that his application was successful. 

Permit me again, sir, to urge earnestly, that the investigation, which 
can alone remove the difficulties which I now experience, shall be 
immediately ordered. 

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, 

Your obedient servant, 

John H. Morgan. 
To Hon. James A. Seddon, Secretary of War. 

On the 28th or 29th of August, General Morgan left 
Abington, and taking command of the troops at Jonesboro 
on the 31st, immediately prepared to move against the 


enemy. Our forces had again been driven away from their 
positions at Bull's Gap and Rogersville, and had fallen back 
to Jonesboro. After two or three days' delay for refitment, 
etc., General Morgan marched from Jonesboro with the in- 
tention of attacking the enemy at Bull's Gap. If he could 
drive them from that position, by a sudden and rapidly ex- 
ecuted movement, he would, in all probability, cut off that 
force at Rogersville and either force it to surrender or com- 
pel it to retreat into Kentucky. In the latter event, the 
enemy's strength would be so much reduced that all of east 
Tennessee, as far down as Knoxville, would be for some 
time in possession of the Confederates. General Morgan's 
strength, including the portions of General Vaughan's bri- 
gade, was about sixteen hundred and two pieces of artillery. 
The men were badly armed and equipped and had been much 
discouraged by their late reverses, but reanimated by the 
presence of their leader, whom they loved all the more as 
misfortunes befell them, they were anxious for battle. 

A small frame house upon the left side of the road lead- 
ing from Jonesboro to Greenville was pointed out to me 
subsequently as the spot where General Morgan received 
(as he rode past the column) the last cheer ever given him 
by his men. Reaching Greenville about 4 P M. on the 3rd 
of September, he determined to encamp there for the night 
and move on Bull's Gap the next day. The troops were 
stationed on all sides of the place, and he made his head- 
quarters in town at the house of Mrs. Williams. The 
younger Mrs. Williams left Greenville, riding in the direc- 
tion of Bull Gap at the first rumors of the approach of our 
forces, to give, we have always believed, the alarm to the 

The Tennesseeans of Vaughan's brigade (under Colonel 
Bradford) were encamped on the Bull's Gap road, and were 
instructed to picket that road and the roads to the left. 
Clark's battalion of Colonel Smith's brigade and the artil- 
lery were encamped on the Jonesboro road, about five hun- 
dred yards from the town. The remainder of Colonel 
Smith's brigade was encamped on the Rogersville road. 

morgan's cavalry. 4 or 

Colonel Giltner's command was also stationed in this quar- 
ter and the two picketed all the roads to the front and right 
flank. The town, had all instructions been obeyed and the 
pickets correctly posted, would have been perfectly pro- 
tected. The enemy gained admittance unchallenged, 
through an unaccountable error in the picketing of the roads 
on the left. It is said that the enemy, who left Bull's Gap 
before midnight, quitted the main road at Blue Springs, 
equidistant from Greenville and Bull's Gap, and marched 
by the Warrensburg road until within one mile and a half 
of the town. 

At this point a by-road leads from the Warrensburg to 
the Newport road. The pickets on the Warrensburg road 
were not stationed in sight of this point, while on the New- 
port road the base of the pickets was beyond the point where 
the by-road enters and there were no rear videttes between 
the base and town. The enemy (it is stated) took this 
little by-road, and turning off in front of one picket came in 
behind the other. At any rate, about daylight, a body per- 
haps of one hundred cavalry dashed into Greenville and 
were followed in a short time by Gillem's whole force. It 
was the party that came first which killed General Morgan. 
His fate, however, is still involved in mystery. Major Gas- 
sett, of his staff, states that they left the house together and 
sought to escape, but found every street guarded. They 
took refuge once in the open cellar of a house, expecting 
that some change in the disposition of the Federal forces 
would leave an avenue for escape, or that they would be 
rescued by a charge from some of the troops at the camps. 
They were discovered and pointed out by a Union woman. 
Gassett succeeded in effecting his escape. General Morgan 
made his way back to the garden of Mrs. Williams' house. 
Lieutenant X. Hawkins, a fearless young officer, charged 
into town with fifteen men and strove to reach the point 
where he supposed the general to be, but he was forced 
back. General Morgan was killed in the garden — shot 
through the heart. It is not known whether he surrendered 
or was offering resistance. 


His friends have always believed that he was murdered 
after his surrender. Certain representations by the parties 
who killed him, their ruffianly character and the brutality 
with which they treated his body, induced the belief ; and it 
was notorious that his death, if again captured, had been 
sworn. His slayers broke down the paling around the gar- 
den, dragged him through and, while he was tossing his 
arms in his dying agonies, threw him across a mule and 
paraded his body about the town, shouting and screaming 
in savage exaltation. No effort was made by any one ex- 
cept Lieutenant Hawkins to accomplish his rescue. The 
three commands, demoralized by General Morgan's death, 
became separated and were easily driven away. 

Thus, on the 4th of September, 1864, in a little village of 
east Tennessee, fell this almost unequaled partisan leader. 
But not only was the light of genius extinguished then and 
a heroic spirit lost to earth — as kindly and as noble a heart 
as was ever warmed by the constant presence of generous 
emotions was stilled by a ruffian's bullet. 

As the event is described the feelings it excited come back 
almost as fresh and poignant as at the time. How hard 
it was to realize that his time, too, had come — that so much 
life had been quenched. Every trait of the man we almost 
worshiped, recollections of incidents which showed his su- 
perb nature, crowd now, as they crowded then, upon the 
mind. When he died the glory and chivalry seemed gone 
from the struggle and it became a tedious routine, enjoined 
and sustained only by pride and duty. Surely men never 
grieved for a leader as Morgan's men sorrowed for him. 
The tears which scalded the cheeks of hardy and rugged 
veterans who had witnessed all the terrible scenes of four 
years of war attested it and the sad faces told of the aching 
hearts within. 

His body was taken from the hands which defiled it by 
General Gillem, as soon as that officer arrived at Greenville, 
and sent to our lines under flag of truce. 

The troops again returned to Jonesboro, the enemy re- 
turning after a short pursuit to Bull's Gap. Immediately 



Operated in by Gen. Morgan's Brigade, 


Brig. Gen. B. W. DUKE, 
Winter of 18C4^'65. 

Indicates Gen. Dufco'a routo 
• Indicates Federals' routo. 




upon learning of General Morgan's death, General Echols, 
then commanding the department, ordered me to take com- 
mand of the brigade composed of his old soldiers — the rem- 
nant of the old division. I found this brigade reduced to 
two hundred and seventy-three effective men, and armed in 
a manner that made it a matter of wonder how they could 
fight at all. There were scarcely fifty serviceable rifles in 
the brigade, and the variety of calibers rendered it almost a 
matter of impossibility to keep on hand a supply of available 
ammunition. They were equipped similarly in all other 
respects. Every effort was at once instituted to collect and 
procure arms, and to provide suitable equipments. General 
Echols kindly rendered all the assistance in his power, and 
manifested a special interest in us, for which we were deeply 
grateful. Our friends at Richmond and throughout the 
Confederacy seemed to experience fresh sympathy for us 
after General Morgan's death. 

In this connection it is fitting to speak of a gentleman to 
whom we were especially indebted, Mr. E. M. Bruce, one of 
the Kentucky members of the Confederate Congress. It 
would, indeed, be unjust as well as ungrateful to omit men- 
tion of his name and his generous, consistent friendship. 
Not only were we, of Morgan's old command, the recipients 
of constant and the kindest services from him, but his gen- 
erosity was as wide as his charity, which seemed boundless. 
His position at Richmond was such as to enable him to be of 
great assistance to the soldiers and people from his State, 
and he was assiduous and untiring in their behalf. The 
wealth which his skill and nerve in commercial speculations 
procured him was lavished in friendly ministrations and 
charitable enterprises. An intelligent and useful member of 
the Congress, a safe and valuable adviser of the administra- 
tion in all matters within the province of his advice, he was 
especially known and esteemed as the friend of the soldiery, 
the patron of all who stood in need of aid. At one time he 
maintained not only a hospital in Richmond for the sick and 
indigent, but a sort of hotel, kept up at his own expense, 
where the Kentucky soldiers returning from prison were ac- 


commodated. It is safe to say that he did more toward 
furnishing the Kentucky troops with clothing, etc., than all 
of the supply department put together. The sums he gave 
away in Confederate money would sound fabulous; and, 
after the last surrender, he gave thousands of dollars in gold 
to the Kentucky troops who lacked means to take them 
home. His name will ever be held by them in grateful and 
affectionate remembrance. 

My command remained encamped near Jonesboro for 
nearly two weeks. The commands of Vaughan, Cosby 
(that formerly commanded by General George B. Hodge) 
and Giltner were also stationed in the same vicinity, all 
under command of General John C. Vaughan. 

Upon the 15th of September, I received my commission 
as brigadier-general. During the time that we remained 
near Jonesboro the brigade improved very much. Fortu- 
nately several of the best officers of the old command, who 
had escaped capture, were with it at the time that I took 
command. Captains Cantrill, Lea and Messick, and Lieu- 
tenants Welsh, Cunningham, Hunt, Hawkins, Hopkins, 
Skillman, Roody, Piper, Moore, Lucas, Skinner, Crump and 
several others equally as gallant and good, and there were 
some excellent officers who had joined the command just 
after General Morgan's return from prison. The staff de- 
partment was ably filled by the acting adjutants, Lieuten- 
ants George W Hunt, Arthur Andrews, James Hines, and 
Daniels. These were all officers of especial merit. 

Colonels Ward, Morgan and Tucker, and Majors Web- 
ber and Steele had been exchanged at Charleston, and their 
valuable services were secured at a time when greatly 
needed. The gallant Mississippi company, of my old regi- 
ment, was there, all, at least, that was left of it; and Coop- 
er's company, under Welsh, as staunch and resolute as ever, 
although greatly reduced in numbers. All the old regi- 
ments were represented. 

Daily drills and inspections soon brought the brigade into 
a better state of efficiency and the men longed to return to 
the debatable ground and try conclusions with the enemy 

morgan's cavalry. 405 

which had boasted of recent triumphs at their expense. An 
opportunity soon occurred. In the latter part of Septem- 
ber, General Vaughan moved with all of these commands 
stationed about Jonesboro, in the direction of Greenville. 
One object of the movement was to attempt, if cooperation 
with General John S. Williams, who was known to be ap- 
proaching from toward Knoxville, could be secured, the 
capture of the Federal forces at Bull's Gap. General Wil- 
liams had been cut off, in middle Tennessee, from General 
Wheeler, who had raided into that country. His command 
consisted of three brigades. One, under command of Col- 
onel William C. P Breckinridge, was the brigade of Ken- 
tucky cavalry which had won so much reputation in the re- 
treat from Dalton and the operations around Atlanta. In 
this brigade were Colonel Breckinridge's own regiment, the 
Ninth Kentucky, and Dortch's battalion. Another of these 
brigades was a very fine one of Tennessee troops under Gen- 
eral Debrell, an excellent officer. The third, commanded by 
General Robertson, a young and very dashing officer, was 
composed of "Confederate" battalions — troops enlisted 
under no particular State organization. General Vaughan, 
learning of General Williams' approach, dispatched him a 
courier offering to co-operate with him and advised that 
General Williams should attack the rear, while he 
(Vaughan) would attack in front. 

Passing through Greenville at early dawn upon the sec- 
ond day after we left Jonesboro, the column marched rapidly 
toward the gap. My brigade was marching in advance. It 
was at this time three hundred and twenty-two strong and 
was organized into two battalions, the first, commanded by 
Colonel Ward and the second by Colonel Morgan. About 
four miles from Greenville, Captain Messick, whose Com- 
pany A of the second battalion was acting as advance guard, 
encountered a scouting party of the enemy fifty or sixty 
strong. Messick immediately attacked, routed the party 
and chased it for several miles, taking eight or ten prisoners. 
Pressing on again in advance, when the column had over- 
taken him, he discovered the enemy in stronger force than 

406 morgan's cavalry. 

before, advantageously posted upon the farther side of a 
little stream about two miles from Lick creek. Halting his 
command here, Captain Messick accompanied by Lieutenant 
Hopkins galloped across the bridge and toward the enemy 
to reconnoitre. Approaching, despite the shots fired at 
them, to within forty or fifty yards of the enemy, they were 
then saluted by a volley from nearly two hundred rifles. 
Thinking it impossible, or impolitic, to procure "further in- 
formation," they rapidly galloped back. Upon the ap- 
proach of the column this party of the enemy fell back to 
Lick creek, where it met or was reinforced by some two or 
three hundred more. Lick creek is some three miles from 
Bull's Gap. There were no fords in the vicinity of the road 
and it was too deep for wading except at one or two points. 
A narrow bridge spanned it at the point where it crossed the 
road. On the side that we were approaching there is a wide 
open space like a prairie, perhaps half a mile square. Thick 
woods border this opening in the direction that we were 
coming and wooded hills upon the left — running down to 
the edge of the creek. 

Perceiving the enemy show a disposition to contest our 
crossing, my brigade was at once deployed to force a pass- 
age. A portion of the second battalion was double-quicked, 
dismounted, across the open to the thickets near the bank of 
the creek. One company of the second battalion was also 
sent to the right, and took position near the creek in that 
quarter. The greater part of the first battalion was sent, on 
foot, to the left, and, concealed by the thickets upon the hills, 
got near the creek without attracting the attention of the 
enemy. Lieutenant Conrad was ordered to charge across 
the bridge with two mounted companies. As he approached 
it at a trot a battalion of the enemy galloped down on the 
other side (close to the bridge) to dispute his passage. The 
dismounted skirmishers, who had taken position near the 
creek, prevented Conrad's column from receiving annoy- 
ance from the remainder of the Federal force. 

When within so short a distance of the bridge that the fea- 
tures of the Federal soldiers at the other extremity were 


plainly discernible, Conrad suddenly halted and threw one. 
company into line, keeping the other in column behind it, 
and opened fire upon the enemy, which was returned with 
interest. Just then Lieutenant Welsh carried his company 
across the creek on the extreme left, followed by Lea (the 
water coming up to the men's shoulders) and attacked the 
enemy in flank and rear. This shook their line. General 
Vaughan, at the same time, brought up a piece of artillery 
and opened fire over the heads of our own men. Conrad 
seized the moment of confusion and darted across the bridge 
with the company which was in column, and the other fol- 
lowing. It was then a helter-skelter chase until the enemy 
took refuge in the gap. 

General Vaughan marched on, but hearing nothing of 
General Williams and knowing the strength of the position, 
did not attack. He had a brass band with him which he 
made play "Dixie," in the hope that it would lure the enemy 
out ; but this strategic banter was treated with profound in- 

General Williams had marched on the north side of the 
Holston river to Rogersville and thence to Greenville, where 
we met him upon our return next day. His command was 
about two thousand strong, but a part of it badly armed and 
his ammunition was exhausted. It turned out that his ad- 
vent in our department was most opportune and fortunate. 
With him was the Ninth Kentucky, which had done arduous 
and brilliant service during the past year. 

We remained at Greenville several days, and then 
marched to Carter's Station. This withdrawal was occa- 
sioned by information of the approach of Burbridge, from 
Kentucky, with a heavy column. His destination was sup- 
posed to be the salt-works, and General Echols judged it 
expedient to effect a timely concentration of all forces in 
the department. The system of procuring information 
from Kentucky, the most dangerous quarter to the depart- 
ment, was so well organized that it was nearly two weeks 
after the first intimation of danger before Burbridge en- 
tered Virginia. Giltner's brigade had been moved very 

408 morgan's cavalry. 

early to Laurel Gap, or some position in that vicinity, be- 
tween the salt-works and the approaching enemy. Leaving 
General Vaughan with his own brigade at Carter's Station, 
General Echols ordered General Cosby and myself to Bris- 
tol. General Williams who, with great exertion, had re- 
armed his command, moved a few days subsequently to the 
salt-works, where the "reserves" of militia were now, also, 
collecting. Simultaneously with Burbridge's advance, the 
enemy approached from Knoxville (under Generals Gillem 
and Ammon), marching over the same ground which we 
had traversed shortly before. 

General Vaughan was attacked and was compelled to 
divide his brigade, the greater part remaining at Carter's 
Station, and a part being sent, under Colonel Carter, to 
Duvault's ford, five miles below on the Wetauga, where the 
enemy sought to effect a passage. Upon the night after the 
first demonstration against General Vaughan, General 
Cosby and I were sent to reinforce him, and, marching all 
night, reached the position assigned early the next morning. 
General Cosby was posted where he could support most 
speedily whichever point needed it, and I was instructed to 
proceed directly to Duvault's ford. Upon arriving there, I 
found Colonel Carter making all the preparations within 
his power to repel the attack which he anticipated. About 
9 A. M., the enemy recommenced the fight at Carter's Sta- 
tion; and toward i or 2.P M. made his appearance again 
upon the - other side of the river, opposite our position. The 
firing by this time had become so heavy at Carter's Station 
that I feared that General Vaughan would not be able to 
prevent the enemy from crossing the river there, and became 
anxious to create a diversion in his favor. I thought that 
if the force confronting me could be driven off and made to 
retreat on Jonesboro, that confronting General Vaughan 
would also fall back, fearing a flank attack, or it would, at 
least, slacken its efforts. The steep and difficult bank just 
in our front forbade all thought of attack in that way upon 
an enemy so superior in numbers, but there was a ford 
about a mile and a half below, from which a good road led 

morgan's cavalry. 409 

through level ground to the rear of the enemy's position. I 
instructed Captain Messick to select fifty picked men, cross 
at this ford, and take the enemy in the rear and requested 
Colonel Carter to cause one of his battalions to dash down to 
the brink of the river, as soon as the firing commenced, and 
cross and attack if the enemy showed signs of being shaken 
by Messick's movement. 

Captain Messick had crossed the river and gotten two or 
three hundred yards upon the other side, when he met a 
battalion of Federal cavalry approaching, doubtless to try 
a flank movement on us. They were marching with drawn 
sabers, but foolishly halted at sight of our men. Messick 
immediately ordered the charge and dashed into them. The 
impetus with which his column drove against them made 
the Federals recoil, and in a little while entirely give way 
Stephen G. Sharp, of Cluke's regiment, rode at the color- 
guard and shooting the color-bearer through the head, 
seized the flag. While he was waving it in triumph the guard 
fired upon him, two bullets taking effect, one in the left arm, 
the other through the lungs. Dropping the colors across his 
saddle, he clubbed his rifle and struck two of his assailants 
from their horses, and Captain Messick killed a third. 
Twelve prisoners were taken, and ten or fifteen of the enemy 
killed and wounded. Messick, pressing the rout, whirled 
around upon the rear of the position. Colonel Carter or- 
dered the Sixteenth Georgia to charge the position in front, 
when he saw the confusion produced by this dash, and the 
whole Federal force went off in rapid retreat, pursued by the 
detachment of Captain Messick and the Georgia battalion 
for four or five miles. 

Shortly afterward the demonstration against Carter's Sta- 
tion ceased. Lieutenant James Roody, a brave and excel- 
lent young officer, lost a leg in this charge. Stephen G. 
Sharp, whose name has just now been mentioned, was per- 
haps the hero of more personal adventures than any man in 
Morgan's command. He had once before captured a stand- 
ard by an act of equal courage. He had made his escape 
from prison by an exercise of almost incredible daring. 
With a companion, named Hecker, he deliberately scaled the 


wall of the prison yard and forced his way through a guard 
assembled to oppose them. Sharp was shot and bayoneted 
in this attempt, but his wounds were not serious and both 
he and his companion got away. When, subsequently, they 
were making their way to Virginia through the mountains 
of Kentucky, they were attacked by six or seven bush- 
whackers. Hecker was shot from his horse. Sharp shot 
four of his assailants and escaped. His exploits are too 
numerous for mention. Although the wounds he received 
at Duvault's were serious, he survived them to marry the 
lady who nursed him. 

On the next day, we received orders from General Echols 
to march at once to Saltville, as Burbridge was drawing 
near the place. In a very short time the energy and admin- 
istrative skill of General Echols had placed the department 
in an excellent condition for defense. But it was the oppor- 
tune arrival of General Williams which enabled us to beat 
back all assailants. When we reached Abingdon, we 
learned that General John C. Breckinridge had arrived and 
had assumed command. After a short halt, we pressed on 
and reached Saltville at nightfall, to learn that the enemy 
had been repulsed that day in a desperate attack. His loss 
had been heavy. 

General Williams had made a splendid fight — one worthy 
of his very high reputation for skill and resolute courage. 
His dispositions were admirable. The Virginia reserves, 
under General Jackson and Colonel Robert Preston, behaved 
with distinguished gallantry. Upon the arrival of our three 
fresh brigades it was determined to assume the offensive in 
the morning. But that night the enemy retreated. General 
Cosby and I were ordered to follow him. We overtook his 
column beyond Hyter's Gap, but owing to mistakes in re- 
connoissance, etc., allowed it to escape us. General Williams 
coming up with part of his command, we pressed the rear 
but did little damage. After this, my brigade was stationed 
for a few days at Wytheville. 

In the middle of October, I was directed to go with two 
hundred men to Floyd and Franklin counties, where the de- 


serters from our various armies in Virginia had congre- 
gated and had become very troublesome. In Floyd county 
they had organized what they called the "New State" and 
had elected a provisional governor and lieutenant governor. 
I caught the latter. After a little discipline the gang broke 
up and some two hundred came in and surrendered. 

In order to hasten such action, I had made a great many 
threats, which I had no intention of executing, and the ma- 
jority of these men, becoming alarmed, went to Dublin 
depot, to report to General Echols. One day when I en- 
tered my headquarters at a little place called Locust Grove, I 
found a stranger seated in the room whose appearance sug- 
gested that he might be one of the parties of whom I was 
in search. He was a well-built, muscular man, apparently 
thirty-two or three years of age, with a good face and reso- 
lute soldierly bearing. As I entered, he rose from his chair, 
and, without a word, saluted. 

In response to my inquiries, he stated that his name was 
"Miles," that he was a deserter, and that he was ready to 
surrender and return to duty. General Lee's proclamation 
had promised amnesty to all who should return to the army 
before a specified date. I asked him why he came to me, 
inasmuch as so many others, thinking that I would deal 
harshly with them, had preferred to surrender to General 
Echols. He answered that he had no such fear, that he 
believed my purpose was simply to force deserters back into 
service, and that I would harm no one who did not offer re- 

"Well, Miles," I said, "you are a man of sense. But why 
did you desert ? I should take you, from your looks, to be a 
good soldier." 

His manner, while perfectly respectful, had previously 
been stern and rather sullen ; but when I said this, his eyes 
moistened, and he showed agitation. 

"I was a good soldier, General Duke," he replied. "Gen- 
eral Lee had no better soldier in his army than I once was." 

"Very well," I said; "tell me how you came to desert. 
I'd like to know, and you will not suffer by it." 


"Well, sir, when the war began, although I was a poor 
man with a wife and two children, I thought I ought to fight 
for my State and I enlisted. I remained in the ranks for two 
years and a half, without asking leave to go home, and was 
in nearly every battle fought by the army of Northern Vir- 
ginia during that time. Finally my wife wrote me, begging 
me to come home, if I could, and make some provision for 
herself and the children, as they were almost destitute. I 
applied for a furlough and my application was approved, 
until it reached army headquarters, but was thence returned 
with the endorsement that no furloughs could be then 
granted because battle was expected. I was willing to stay 
for the battle, but afterwards renewed my application and 
it was again disapproved. In the meantime I got another 
letter from my wife, saying that she and the children were 
living on the charity of neighbors almost as poor as them- 
selves. I then determined to leave. My wife and children 
were the best part of my country to me, and I meant to take 
care of them. It was not my intention to desert perma- 
nently, but to return to the army when I had provided foi 
my family and take my chance of punishment. I planted 
a small crop of corn and penned a few hogs. I was about 
ready to harvest the corn and was waiting for a cold spell 
to kill and cure the hogs, when General Lee issued the order 
for the arrest of all deserters. You came here and threat- 
ened to destroy everything if we didn't surrender and go 
back. I was at first inclined to resist and kill any man who 
interfered with me, but I reflected that this would do no 
good and only bring more trouble to my wife, so I am here 
to surrender." 

His story and manner affected me to an extent that was 
hard to conceal. I said, "How long, Miles, will it take you 
to get in your corn, kill your hogs and prepare the meat ?" 

He could have all fixed, he said, in ten or twelve days, 
especially if the weather turned cooler. 

"If I give you a furlough for twenty days, will that be 
enough? And will you, at the expiration of that time, re- 
port to General Echols at Dublin?" 


"My God, yes," he shouted, "and I'll thank you as long as 
I live. I ask nothing better than that." 

I gave him the furlough, and then inquired if he knew 
other men among the deserters in that immediate vicinity 
whose cases resembled his own ; who had families dependent 
upon them. He said he knew about twenty such. I asked if 
he could readily communicate with them. He answered 
that he could ; that, if necessary, he would ride all that day 
and night to find them. I told him that I would prepare 
and sign that number of furloughs, leaving blanks for the 
names, which he could fill in, but said, "I will expect you 
to bring them to Dublin." 

"I'll bring 'em or kill 'em," he said. "If any man takes 
a furlough from me under these circumstances and breaks 
his word, you won't have to come after him again." 

I notified General Echols of the arrangement I had made, 
and subsequently inquired how the matter had turned out. 
I learned that Miles had reported on time with quite a sub- 
stantial squad. 

Captain Cantrill, of my brigade, was sent with some forty 
men to Grayson county about the same time. In this county 
the deserters and bushwhackers had been committing terri- 
ble outrages. Upon Cantrill's approach they retreated just 
across the line into North Carolina and bantered him to 
follow. He immediately did so. His force was increased 
by the reinforcement of a company of militia to about eighty 
men. He came upon the deserters (mustering about one 
hundred and twenty-five strong), posted upon the side of a 
mountain, and attacked them. Turning his horses loose 
after finding that it was difficult to ascend mounted, he 
pushed his men forward on foot. The horses galloping 
back, induced the enemy to believe that he was retreating. 
They were quickly undeceived. Letting them come close to 
a belt of wood in which his men were posted, Cantrill poured 
in a very destructive fire. The leader of the gang was killed 
by the first volley and his men soon dispersed and fled. 

Twenty-one men were killed in this affair, and the others 
were chased away from that region. They gave no further 


trouble. Captain Cantrill's action justified the high esteem 
in which his courage and ability were held by his superiors. 
Almost immediately after the return of these detachments, 
the brigade was ordered back to east Tennessee again. 

General Vaughan, supported by Colonel Palmer's brigade 
of North Carolina reserves, had been attacked at Russelville, 
six miles below Bull's Gap, and defeated with the loss of 
four or five pieces of artillery. General Breckinridge, im- 
mediately upon hearing of this disaster, prepared to retrieve 
it. The appointment of General Breckinridge to the com- 
mand of the department was a measure admirably calculated 
to reform and infuse fresh vitality into its affairs. He pos- 
sessed the confidence of both the people and the soldiery. 
His military record was a brilliant one, and his sagacity and 
firmness were recognized by all. With the Kentucky 
troops, who were extravagantly proud of him, his popularity 
was of course unbounded. Although this unfortunate de- 
partment was worse handled by the enemy after he com- 
manded it than ever before, he came out of the ordeal, fatal 
to most other generals, with enhanced reputation. His 
great energy and indomitable resolution were fairly tried 
and fully proven. He could personally endure immense 
exertions and exposure. If, however, when heavy duty and 
labor were demanded, he got hold of officers and men who 
would not complain he worked them without compunction, 
giving them no rest, and leaving the reluctant in clover. 
He could always elicit the affection inspired by manly daring 
and high soldierly qualities, and which the brave always 
feel for the bravest. 

Leaving Wytheville on the night of the 19th of Novem- 
ber the brigade marched nearly to Marion, twenty-one miles 
distant. A blinding snow was driving in our faces, and 
about midnight it became necessary to halt and allow the 
half-frozen men to build fires. Marching in through Ab- 
indgon and Bristol, we reached Carter's station on the 22d. 
Here General Vaughan's brigade was encamped, and on the 
same day trains arrived from Wytheville, bringing dis- 
mounted men of my brigade and of Cosby's and Giltner's. 

morgan's cavalry. 415 

The bulk of these two latter brigades were in the Shenan- 
doah valley, with General Early. There were also two 
companies of engineers. The dismounted men numbered in 
all between three and four hundred. They were com- 
manded by Lieutenant-Colonel Alston, who was assisted by 
Major Chenoweth, Captain Jenkins and other able officers. 
Six pieces of artillery also arrived, commanded by Major 
Page. On the 23d, the entire force was marched to Jones- 
boro. From Jonesboro two roads run to Greenville, or 
rather to within three miles of Greenville, when they join. 
These roads are at no point more than three miles apart. 
My brigade was ordered to march upon the right hand, or 
Rheatown road, and General Vaughan took the other. 
The dismounted men marched along the railroad, which 
runs between them. A short distance beyond Rheatown 
Captain Messick, who was some ten miles in front of the col- 
umn with the advance guard of twenty men, came upon an 
encampment of the enemy. He immediately attacked and 
drove in the pickets. Privates Hi Rogers, Pat Gilroy, Por- 
ter White, and another brave fellow of Ward's battalion, fol- 
lowed them into the encampment and came back unhurt. 
Messick halted his guard about four hundred yards from 
the encampment and awaited the movements of the enemy. 
His men were all picked for their daring and steadiness and 
could be depended on. In a little while the enemy came out, 
but continued, for a while, to fire at long range. Fearing 
that arrangements were being made to surround him, Mes- 
sick began to retreat. The enemy then pursued him, and a 
battalion continued the pursuit for ten miles. Although 
closely pressed, this gallant little squad repeatedly turned 
and fought, sometimes dismounting to fire more accurately, 
and repeatedly checked their pursuers. Every round of 
their ammunition was exhausted and they were at no time 
disordered or forced into flight. Captain Messick lost not 
a single man captured and only one wounded. 

When the column at length came up the enemy had aban- 
doned the chase and returned. That evening we marched 
through their deserted camp. Passing through Greenville 

4i 6 morgan's cavalry. 

the next morning, which the enemy had evacuated the night 
before, we reached Lick creek about 4 P M. The enemy 
showed themselves on the further side, but did not contest 
our passage. A mile or a mile and a half in front of the gap 
we came upon them again, about twelve hundred strong. 
General Breckinridge ordered me to attack. I did so and 
in a short time drove them into the gap. They came out 
twice and were as often driven back. General Vaughan had 
been sent to demonstrate in the rear of the gap, and the dis- 
mounted men had not gotten up. After the third trial out- 
side of the works the enemy contented himself with shelling 
us. I witnessed, then, a singular incident. One man was 
literally set on fire by a shell. I saw what seemed a ball of 
fire fall from a shell just exploded and alight upon this poor 
fellow. He was at once in flames. We tore his clothing 
from him and he was scorched and seared from head to foot 

All that night we stood in line upon the ground which we 
occupied when it fell. The enemy's pickets were a short 
distance in our front and fired at every movement. During 
the night the artillery arrived and was posted upon a com- 
manding position protected by my line. The dismounted 
men also arrived during the night. 

On the next morning, at daylight, the dismounted men 
and one hundred and fifty of my brigade, in all five hundred 
men, were moved to the extreme right to assault the gap 
from that quarter. General Vaughan was instructed to at- 
tack it in the rear and Colonel George Crittenden was posted 
to support the artillery, with one hundred and eighty men, 
and to demonstrate in front. The right was the real point 
of attack. General Breckinridge hoped to carry the works 
there, and the other movements were intended as diversions. 
The enemy's force, as shown by captured field returns, was 
about twenty-five hundred men. 

The troops sent to make the assault on the right were 
under my command. Ascending the steep hillside, this 
force reached the point where it was to attack soon after 
daylight. The position to be assaulted was very strong. 
Two spurs or ridges of the hill on which the forts occupied 


by the enemy were erected connect with the high ground 
where we formed for the attack. Earthworks had been 
erected across each ridge, not formidable in themselves, 
but protected by the fire from the forts and strongly manned. 
These ridges are, perhaps, fifty or sixty yards in breadth, 
their sides steep and rugged and between them is a deep 
and wide ravine, or rather chasm. The forts were situated 
about one hundred yards in the rear of the earthworks, and 
in attacking the latter, the assailants were subjected to the 
fire from the forts also. A direct and cross fire of both artil- 
lery and musketry swept every inch of the approach. About 
the time that we reached the ground, Major Page opened 
fire with his pieces on the plain beneath in front of the gap, 
and we immediately moved against the works. General 
Breckinridge had accompanied the troops and virtually com- 
manded the assault. He went with Colonel Ward, who I 
had directed to attack upon the right ridge with the greater 
part of the men, while I attacked on the left ridge with the 

Colonel Ward pressed on vigorously and carried the 
earthwork on the right, but was driven back by the fire from 
the fort, which he could not take. He returned repeatedly 
to the assault but without avail. On the left, driving in the 
skirmishers, we advanced rapidly until we had gotten within 
twenty or thirty yards of the earthwork, where the men, 
staggered by the fire, halted and could go no further. The 
enemy, apparently divining our purpose to penetrate at this 
point, had concentrated on these ridges and in the immediate 
vicinity to oppose us, and greatly outnumbered us. Both 
ridges were now completely swept by a galling fire and the 
men were falling fast under it. The enemy once sprang 
over the earthwork upon the left and attacked in turn, but 
was forced back. 

Major Webber had but one company of his battalion pres- 
ent. It was twenty-eight strong and lost fourteen. After 
failing to carry the works we remained close to them, upon 
both the ridges for more than an hour, replying as effectively 
as we could to the enemy's fire. Several instances of great 

4i 8 morgan's cavalry. 

gallantry occurred. Sergeant James Cardwell, of my old 
regiment, when the men hestitated to again attack, walked 
deliberately toward the enemy, declaring that he would show 
them what a soldier's duty was. He fell before he had taken 
a dozen steps, his gallant breast riddled with balls. Gordon 
Vorhees, a brave young soldier, scarcely out of his boyhood, 
was mortally wounded when Colonel Ward carried the work 
upon the right. His comrades strove to remove him, but 
he refused to permit them to do so, saying that it was their 
part to fight and not too look after dying men. 

Battle has its ludicrous as well as tragic episodes. While 
my line was still close to the earthwork, "Lige" True, one 
of the best soldiers I ever knew, concluded that he would try 
a flank movement on his own account. He accordingly de- 
scended the steep side of the hill until he had obtained a 
position where he could fire comfortably on the defenders of 
the work, who were then entirely unprotected from his bul- 
lets. Unfortunately, however, Lige was equally exposed to 
the fire of the enemy, and was so near them that some of the 
shots directed at him were bound to take effect. One struck 
him in the middle of the nose, passing through it. His nose 
was unusually large, and the ball instead of tearing it 
away, as might have been expected, drilled a neat perfora- 
tion which had a margin of perhaps a quarter of an inch 
around it. The blood gushing abundantly out of both ori- 
fices, effectually spoiled his shooting for a while, and com- 
pelled him to retreat. When he got back into line, one of 
the boys said: "They came mighty near gettin' you that 
time, Lige!" "Yes," answered Lige, in deep disgust, "and 
they came d — m nigh missin' me, too." 

Colonel Crittenden had pressed his slight line and Page's 
guns close to the front of the gap, during our attack, and did 
splendid service. But the attack in the rear was not made 
in time and almost the entire Federal force was concentrated 
on the right ; and this, and the strength of the position, was 
some excuse for our failure to take it. General Breckinridge 
exposed himself in a manner that called forth almost indig- 
nant remonstrance of the men, and it is a matter of wonder 


that he escaped unhurt. He spoke in high terms of the con- 
duct of the men who pressed the attack, although much dis- 
appointed at its failure, and especially commended Colonel 
Ward's cool, unflinching, and determined bravery. The 
latter officer was wounded, and when we withdrew was cut 
off from the command but found his way back safely. Our 
loss was very heavy. 

After our retreat, which was not pressed by the enemy, 
Colonel Crittendon was in a very critical situation. It was 
necessary that he should also withdraw and as he did so he 
was exposed for more than half a mile to the Federal artil- 
lery. Six guns were opened upon him. The chief aim 
seemed to be to blow up Page's caissons, but, although the 
shelling was hot they were all brought off safely. 

That afternoon Colonel Palmer arrived from Asheville, 
N. C, with four or five hundred infantry. General Breck- 
inridge decided to make no further attack upon the position, 
but to march through Taylor's Gap, three miles to the west, 
and get in the rear of the Federals and upon their line of 
retreat and communication with Knoxville. Accordingly, 
we broke camp and marched about 10 o'clock that night. 
Vaughan, who had returned, moved in advance. Palmer's 
infantry, the dismounted men, and the artillery were in the 

As we passed through Taylor's Gap, information was re- 
ceived that the enemy were evacuating Bull's Gap and that 
an opportunity would be afforded us to take him in flank. 
General Breckinridge at once ordered Vaughan to post a 
strong detachment at Russellville, in their front, and to at- 
tack with his whole command immediately upon the detach- 
ment becoming engaged. I was ordered to turn to the left 
before reaching Russellville, go around the place and cut the 
enemy off upon the main road, a mile or two below, or, fail- 
ing to do this, take him in flank. 

The enemy broke through the detachment stationed in his 
front, but was immediately attacked by Vaughan. "Fight, 
d — n you !" yelled a Federal officer to his men, as the firing 


commenced , "it's only a scout." "No, I'll be d — d if it is," 
shouted one of Vaughan's men ; "we're all here." 

The greater part of Gillem's column and his artillery 
escaped here, but one regiment was cut off and driven away 
to the right. Moving very rapidly, my brigade managed to 
strike the main body again at Cheek's Cross Roads, about 
two miles from the town, and drove another slice from the 
road and into the fields and woods. While the column was 
scattered and prolonged by the rapid chase, we came sud- 
denly upon the enemy halted in the edge of a wood and were 
received with a smart fire, which checked us. 

Captain Gus Magee, one of the best and most dashing 
officers of the brigade, commanding the advance guard, 
charged in among them. As, followed by a few men, he 
leaped over the fence behind which the enemy were posted 
he was shot from his horse. He surrendered and gave his 
name, and was immediately shot again and sabered. He 
lived a short time in great agony. One of his men, Ser- 
geant Sam Curd, avenged his death that night. Curd saved 
himself when Magee was killed by slipping into the Federal 
line, and in the darkness escaped unnoticed. Some twenty 
minutes after the murderer of Magee was captured, and 
Curd, recognizing his voice, asked him if he were not the 
man. He at once sprang upon Curd and tried to disarm 
him. The latter broke loose from his grasp and killed him. 

Vaughan, after we moved on, kept the road, and I moved 
upon the left flank, endeavoring to gain the enemy's rear and 
intercept his retreat. Colonel Napier, who kept in the ad- 
vance with a small detachment, succeeded in this object. 

Three or four miles from Morristown the enemy halted 
and, for half an hour, offered resistance. We, who were 
moving up to take them in flank and rear, then saw a beau- 
tiful sight. The night was cloudless and the moon at its 
full, shedding a brilliant light. The dark lines of troops 
could be seen almost as clearly as by day- Their positions 
were distinctly marked, however, by the flashes from the 
rifles coming thick and fast, making them look, as they 
moved along bending and oscillating, like rolling waves of 


flame throwing off fiery spray When my brigade had 
moved far around upon the left and had taken position, 
obliquing toward the enemy's rear, it suddenly opened. 
The Federal line recoiled and closed from both flanks 
toward the road, into one dense mass, which looked before 
the fighting ceased and the rout fairly commenced like a 
huge Catherine wheel spouting streams of fire. 

The enemy retreated rapidly and in confusion from this 
position, pursued closely by Vaughan's foremost battalions. 
At Morristown a regiment, just arrived upon the cars, and 
a piece of artillery checked the pursuit for a short time, and 
enabled the enemy to reform. They were again driven and 
making another and a last stand a short distance beyond the 
town, abandoned all further resistance when that failed to 
stop us. 

Then the spoils began to be gathered and were strewn so 
thickly along the road that the pursuit was effectually re- 
tarded. Major Day, of Vaughan's brigade, followed, how- 
ever, beyond New Market, more than twenty-five miles from 
the point where the affair commenced, and the rest of us 
halted when day had fairly broken. More than one hundred 
ambulances and wagons were captured, loaded with bag- 
gage; six pieces of artillery, with caissons and horses, and 
many prisoners. The rout and disintegration of Gillem's 
command was complete. 

On the next day we moved to New Market, and, when all 
the troops had gotten up, proceeded to Strawberry Plains, 
seven miles beyond. Here the enemy, posted in strong forti- 
fications, were prepared to contest our further advance. We 
remained here three or four days. 

Shelling and sharpshooting were almost constantly kept 
up during the day, and a picket line, which required almost 
our entire strength, was maintained at night. The Holston 
river was between us and the enemy. The enemy held the 
long, covered bridge, and neither of the combatants ven- 
tured an attack. On the second night that we were at 
Strawberry Plains, General Breckinridge ordered me to 
take a small fort or redoubt which was just upon the river 


bank and not far from the bridgehead ; and which was the 
only position on our side of the river which was held by the 
enemy. The troops occupying it kept themselves concealed, 
except when our people approached it, when they would 
open a smart fire. A little before midnight I made a rush 
on the fort, and much to my gratification found that it had 
been evacuated. 

I would not mention this affair but for an incident which 
immediately followed, and which was the sequel of one that 
had occurred at Bull's Gap; the two in connection convinced 
me that the opinion, so often expressed, that even brave men 
have their moments of panic is correct. 

When, during the fight at Bull's Gap, my attack on the 
earthwork had failed, and I found it useless to renew it with 
a force so numerically inferior to that of the enemy, I 
thought that if I could rally the stragglers or in any way 
reinforce the line, we might make another assault with some 
hope of success. With that purpose I had gone a short dis- 
tance to the rear, and had succeeded in collecting and send- 
ing back to the line some twenty or thirty men. Just as I was 
about to return I caught sight of a lieutenant crouching be- 
hind a tree, at least a hundred yards to the rear of the line, 
and apparently dazed with fear. I approached him and was 
so angry that I threatened to shoot him; but at the first 
words I uttered he seemed to recover his senses and ran to 
the line at full speed. During the remainder of the fight he 
showed no sign of demoralization. This officer has always 
before borne an excellent reputation, having on many occa- 
sions behaved very gallantly. I was therefore surprised by 
this conduct, and, while indignant, was reluctant to disgrace 
him by exposure, especially as no one but myself had wit- 
nessed it ; and concluded to take no immediate action. 

At Strawberry Plains, however, I mentioned the matter 
to General Breckinridge and asked him what course he 
thought I ought to pursue, taking into consideration the 
man's previous record. Breckinridge was, as a rule, lenient 
to offences against discipline, but he showed no disposition 
to be forgiving in a matter of this kind. He at once declared 


that I ought to prefer charges and have him dismissed the 
service, saying that when so many brave private soldiers 
had given their lives in the fight, such conduct should not 
be condoned on the part of an officer. I was much of the 
same opinion, but could not forget that for three years the 
offender had been uniformly brave, zealous, and efficient. 

When we found the fort, of which I have spoken, aban- 
doned by the enemy and entered it, we obtained, by the bright 
moonlight, a fair view of what was going on across the 
river in the Federal encampment. Everything seemed to be 
in motion there, and this in connection with the evacuation 
of the work, induced me to think that possibly they were 
preparing to retreat, and I concluded to make further inves- 
tigation. With a small detail, I moved cautiously along the 
river bank under the bluff, until I reached a point just under 
the end of the bridge. The bridge, as I have stated, was 
held by the enemy, and their sharpshooters had been exceed- 
ingly aggressive whenever we had come near its entrance 
or within easy range. It occurred to me that if the enemy 
were really retreating, the troops posted in the bridge would 
be withdrawn to the other side, and I felt a strong desire to 
ascertain if this had been done. To make this discovery, 
however, someone must enter and explore the bridge; and 
such an experiment meant almost certain death to the man 
who attempted it if the enemy were still there. I was not 
inclined to try it myself, and was not willing to send another 
man where I was not disposed to go. 

While I was in this frame of mind, my eye fell on the lieu- 
tenant, whose case was still unsettled. I called him to one 
side and reminded him of his conduct at Bull's Gap, telling 
him what General Breckinridge had said. He replied that 
he expected to be court-martialed, but declared that he would 
not survive the disgrace and would kill himself. 

I then said, "Lieutenant, I have mentioned this mat- 
ter to no one but General Breckinridge and I have not given 
him your name. No one, therefore, knows anything about 
it except you and I. I have not made up my mind what I 
shall do about the matter; and I may, in any event, let it 


drop and do nothing. But I will say this. I wish to learn 
whether the Yankees are in that bridge. If you will go in 
and ascertain whether or not they are there, I will not only 
overlook your conduct of the other day, but you shall have 
all the credit which such an act would deserve had you vol- 
unteered to do it." Without perceptible hesitation he ans- 
wered, "I'll go." 

"But understand," I said, "the chances are all against you. 
If they are there, you will not be likely to get out alive." 

"Don't say anything more, General. I am glad of this 
chance to redeem myself in my own estimation. I'd go, if 
I knew I would be killed." 

He climbed the bank and I heard him enter the bridge. 
The others in the detachment soon realized what he was at- 
tempting; the bridge was just overhead and we listened 
eagerly to his scarcely audible footsteps as he proceeded on 
his quest. He had gotten half way across and I thought he 
would make the entire distance, when suddenly the order, 
"Halt !" rang out, repeated by twenty or thirty voices. He 
turned and came swiftly back and, to my great relief a few 
seconds later, sprang down the bank in safety. Why the 
Yankees did not fire on him, I, of course, never knew. But 
probably they supposed him to be one of their own strag- 
glers. It is certain, however, that no coward would have 
deliberately and wittingly taken such a risk. I believed in 
him and was extremely gratified by this vindication of his 
courage and resolution. 

On the last day of our stay at Strawberry Plains, Gillem 
came out from Knoxville with a part of his command which 
he had collected and reorganized. Vaughan crossed the 
river and attacked and easily drove him back. General 
Breckinridge was called to Wytheville by rumors of an ad- 
vance of the enemy in another quarter, and leisurely retired 
to New Market and thence to Mossy creek, eleven miles 
from Strawberry Plains. 

Some ten days after our arrival from the latter place re- 
ports reached us that a large force was being collected at 
Bean's Station, upon the north side of the Holston. These 

morgan's cavalry. 425 

reports were shortly confirmed. We withdrew to Russell- 
ville, and subsequently to Greenville. To have remained 
farther down would have exposed the rest of the department 
entirely. Having the short route to Bristol, the enemy 
could have outflanked and outmarched us, and getting first 
to the important points of the department, which they would 
have found unguarded, they could have captured and de- 
stroyed all that was worth protecting without opposition. 
General Vaughan was stationed at Greenville, and my bri- 
gade was stationed, under command of Colonel Morgan, at 

Five or six days after these dispositions were made, the 
enemy advanced upon Rogersville in heavy force, drove 
Colonel Morgan away and followed him closely He re- 
treated without loss, although constantly skirmishing, to 
Kingsport, twenty-five miles from Rogersville, and crossing 
Clinch river at nightfall prepared to dispute the passage of 
the enemy. He believed that he could do so successfully but 
his force was too small to guard all of the fords, and the 
next morning the enemy got across, attacked and defeated 
him, capturing him, more than eighty men, and all of our 
wagons. Colonel Napier took command and retreated to 
Bristol. I met the brigade there and found it reduced to 
less than three hundred men. 

General Vaughan was hurrying on to Bristol, at this time, 
but had to march farther than the enemy, who also had the 
start of him, would be required to march in order to reach 
it. On the night of the 13th, the enemy entered Bristol at 
3 or 4 P M. Vaughan was not closer than twelve or fifteen 
miles and was completely separated from the forces east of 
Bristol. We now had tolerably accurate information of the 
enemy's strength. Burbridge's Kentucky troops composed 
the greater part of his force, and Gillem was present with 
all of his former command, that he could collect, and one 
other fine regiment, the Tenth Michigan. General Stone- 
man commanded. His column numbered in all, as well as 
we could judge, between six and seven thousand men. 

After the enemy occupied Bristol I fell back to Abingdon. 

426 morgan's cavalry. 

At Bristol a large amount of valuable stores were captured 
by the enemy, and more clerks and attaches of supply de- 
partments caught or scared than at any precedent period of 
the departmental history. They scudded from town with an 
expedition that was truly astonishing to those who had ever 
had business with them. 

Not caring to make a fight which I knew I must lose, and 
well aware that there was hard work before us, I left Abing- 
don at nightfall, and encamped about three miles from the 
town on the Saltville road. At 10 o'clock the enemy en- 
tered Abingdon, driving out a picket of thirty men I had left 
there and causing another stampede of the clerical detail. 
The brigade was at once gotten under arms in expectation 
of an advance upon the road where we were stationed, but 
the enemy moved down the railroad toward Glade Springs 
and by the main road in the same direction. 

After having ascertained their route we moved rapidly to 
Saltville, reaching that place before 10 A. M. General 
Breckinridge had already concentrated there all of the re- 
serves that could be collected, and Giltner's and Cosby's 
brigades, which had just returned from the valley. 
Vaughan had retreated, when he found himself cut off, 
toward the North Carolina line and was virtually out of the 
fight from that time. Our force for the defense of Saltville 
was not more than fifteen hundred men ; for offensive oper- 
ations not eight hundred. 

The enemy made no demonstration against Saltville on 
that day, and at nightfall General Breckinridge instructed 
me to move with one hundred and fifty men of my brigade, 
through McCall's Gap, and passing to the right of Glade's 
Springs, where the enemy was supposed to be, enter the 
main stage road and move toward Wytheville. He had 
received information that three or four hundred of the 
enemy had gone in that direction toward the lead mines, and 
he wished me to follow and attack. 

Moving as directed, I found the enemy not at Glade 
Springs, as was expected, but at the point at which I wished 
to enter the main road. Driving in the pickets, I advanced 

morgan's cavalry. 427 

my whole force to within a short distance of the road and 
discovered convincing proof that the entire Federal force 
was there. I did not attack, but withdrew to a point about 
a mile distant, and, permitting the men to build fires, and 
posting pickets to watch the enemy at the cross-roads, 
awaited daylight. 

Just at daylight a force of ten or twelve hundred of the 
enemy appeared in our rear, and between us and Saltville. 
This force had passed through Glade Springs and far 
around to the rear. Fortunately the men were lying down 
in line and by their horses, which had not been unsaddled. 
They were at Once formed, and sending to call in the pickets 
I moved my line slowly toward the enemy, who halted. The 
noise of the pickets galloping up the road perhaps made 
them believe that reinforcements were arriving to us. Not 
caring to fight when directly between two superior bodies 
of the enemy, and but a short distance from either, I wheeled 
into column, as soon as the picket detail arrived, and moved 
toward a wood upon our right. I was satisfied that I could 
check pursuit when there and that some sort of trace led 
thence over the mountain to Saltville. 

The enemy did not pursue vigorously. Only one shot was 
fired, and that by one of my pickets, who killed his man. 

Learning that the enemy had crossed at Seven-Mile Ford 
and gone on toward Wytheville, General Breckinridge de- 
termined to follow. He wished to harass him, and prevent, 
as well as he could with the limited force at his command, 
the waste and destruction which was the object of the raid. 
He accordingly marched out from Saltville on the night of 
the 1 6th, with eight hundred men, leaving the reserves and 
the men belonging to the cavalry whose horses were unser- 

On the 17th, Colonel Wycher, who had been sent in ad- 
vance of the column commanded by General Breckinridge, 
attacked a body of the enemy near Marion, and drove it to 
Mount Ajry, eight miles from Wytheville. General Breck- 
inridge pressed on to support him, and when we reached 
Marion we found Wycher coming back, closely pursued by 

428 morgan's cavalry. 

a much stronger party of the enemy. Cosby's brigade, 
which was in the front of our column, at once attacked, and 
the whole command having deployed and moved up, the 
enemy were easily driven back across the creek, two miles 
beyond Marion. Giltner and Cosby halted without crossing 
the creek. My brigade crossed and pressed the Federals 
back some distance farther on the right of our line of ad- 
vance. Night coming on, I took a position on a command- 
ing ridge which stretches from the creek in a southeasterly 
direction. My left flank rested near the ford at which we 
had crossed, and my line was at an obtuse angle with that 
of the other brigades, which had not crossed, and inclining 
toward the position of the enemy. During the night I kept 
my men in line of battle. 

On the next morning it became evident that Stoneman's 
entire force, or very nearly all of it, had arrived during the 
night and was confronting us. After feeling the line, com- 
mencing on our left, the enemy apparently became impressed 
with the belief that the proper point to attack was upon our 
right, and he accordingly made heavy rushes in rapid suc- 
cession upon my position. I had but two hundred and 
twenty men, and was reinforced at mid-day by Colonel 
Wycher with fifty of his battalion. 

The line we were required to hold was at least half a mile 
long, and I say without hesitation that troops never fought 
more resolutely and bravely than did those I commanded on 
that day. The men were formed in a single slim skirmish 
line, with intervals of five or six feet between the files, and 
yet the enemy could not break it. We were forced to re- 
ceive an attack where the enemy chose to make it, not 
daring, with our limited number and the important responsi- 
bility of holding our position, to attack in turn. Had the 
position been taken, the ford would have fallen into the pos- 
session of the enemy and he would have been master of the 
entire field. The fire which met the advancing Federals at 
every effort which they made was the most deadly I ever 
saw. Our ammunition gave out three times, but, fortun- 
ately, we were enabled to replenish it during the lulls in the 


fighting. The sharpshooting upon both sides, in the inter- 
vals of attack, was excellent. Charlie Taylor, the best shot 
in my brigade, and one of the bravest soldiers, killed a man 
at almost every shot. I would gladly mention the names of 
those who deserved distinguished honor for their conduct, 
but it would require me, to do so, to give the name of every 
officer and private in the brigade. 

One of the Federal sharpshooters was unusually daring 
and efficient. He had advanced some distance in front of 
his own line and taken position behind a large sycamore 
tree, about two hundred and fifty yards from ours, whence 
he was keeping up a persistent fire. About the time he was 
most active I reached that part of the line and was admon- 
ished to be cautious. "Look out, General," several shouted. 
"He's already shot two men." I selected a comparatively 
safe place, and watched with a good deal of interest the 
measures taken to silence him. He kept himself pretty well 
concealed, but we could see his arm moving when he re- 
loaded and catch a glimpse of his body when he fired. Three 
or four of our fellows were crawling through the dry weeds 
and grass in different directions, trying to get a fair shot at 
him; and Lieutenant Omar, an excellent officer of Ward's 
battalion, was giving them instructions. Omar was stand- 
ing behind a small tree a little distance to the front, flourish- 
ing both arms in the vehemence of his advice and enforcing 
it with a flow of profanity I never heard equalled. Sud- 
denly the sharpshooter hit the palm of his extended right 
hand and pierced it, causing the blood to gush in a stream. 
I never saw a man more astonished and disgusted than 
Omar seemed to be. He stood for a moment like a statue, 
with his arm still extended, and then called out, "General, if 
he ain't hit me, I'll be d— d." 

I had not seen Omar for years, when one day, twenty 
years after the close of the war, a middle-aged, grizzled, but 
stalwart man, with the unmistakable look of a veteran, 
entered my office in Louisville and accosted me like one who 
knew me well. I knew that he was an old comrade, his face 
and voice were familiar, but I could not "place him," as we 


say in the South. I frankly told him so, expressing my 
regret that I had failed to recognize him. He straightened 
himself up, without a word, and extended his right arm 
with open palm. In the center of it I saw a scar, and the 
scene I have described flashed into my memory. "If you 
ain't Omar," I said, "I'll be d— d." 

About 3 o'clock, Colonel Napier, who was commanding 
upon the extreme left, advanced, and, sweeping down the 
line, drove back a body of the enemy immediately confront- 
ing his own little battalion, and struck the flank of another 
moving to attack the right of the position. But coming sud- 
denly upon a miscegenated line of white and colored troops, 
which rose suddenly from ambush and fired into the faces 
of his men, his line fell back. The combatants fought here, 
for a while, with clubbed guns and the negroes, who seemed 
furious with fear, used theirs like mauls. Soon after this, 
the most serious charge of the day was made upon the right 
and center. The enemy came in two lines, each twelve or 
fifteen hundred strong. The front line swung first one end 
foremost, then the other, as it came at the double-quick, and 
my line, facing to the right and left, massed alternately at 
the threatened points. This time the Federals came up so 
close that I believed the position lost. Their repulse was 
chiefly due to the exertions of Captain Lea and Colonel 
Wycher, so far as the efforts of officers contributed to a vic- 
tory which nothing but the unflinching courage of the men 
could have secured. 

The first line, after driving us nearly a hundred yards and 
completely turning our right, finally recoiled, and the second 
ran as early. But they left many dead behind. Our loss 
was surprisingly small in this fight; the enemy fired heavy 
volleys, but too high. 

The enemy made no further attack, and seemed hopeless 
of driving us away. 

Late at night, our ammunition having almost entirely 
given out, we quitted our position and fell back, through 
Marion. Marching then southwardly, through the gorges 
of the mountain, we reached Rye Valley, fifteen miles dis- 

morgan's cavalry. 431 

tant, by morning. The enemy did not move during the 

It can safely be asserted that we were not worsted in this 
fight, although for lack of ammunition we quitted the field. 
Every attack made by the enemy upon our position was re- 
pulsed, notwithstanding our greatly inferior numbers. Our 
loss was slight; his was heavy. General Breckinridge de- 
clared that no troops could have fought better or more suc- 
cessfully than those which held the right. 

From Rye Valley we moved to the main road again, 
striking it at Mount Airy, thirteen miles from Marion. 
Here General Breckinridge learned that the enemy had 
marched directly to Saltville. He entertained grave fears 
that the place would be taken, having no confidence in the 
ability of the small garrison to hold it. His fears were 
realized. He instructed me to collect details from all the 
brigades of men who were least exhausted and the most 
serviceable horses, and follow the enemy as closely as I 
could, relieving Saltville if the garrison held out until I ar- 
rived. I accordingly marched with three hundred men, 
arriving at Seven-Mile Ford at nightfall on the 19th. I 
halted until 1 o'clock at night, and then pressed on, over 
terrible roads, and reached the vicinity of Saltville at day- 
light. The night was bitterly cold and the men were so 
chilled that they were scarcely able to sit on their horses. 

Passing through Lyon's Gap we discovered indications 
scarcely to be mistaken that Saltville had indeed fallen. 
Still it was necessary to make sure, and I moved in the direc- 
tion of the southern defenses. Shortly afterward the sight 
of the enemy and a skirmish which showed a strong force in 
line, convinced me that I could not enter the place. Scouts, 
sent to reconnoiter, returned, declaring that the enemy held 
all the entrances. I lost one man killed. Falling back three 
miles, I went into camp to await the time when the enemy 
should commence his retreat. This he did on the 22d and 
marched toward Kentucky. We immediately followed. At 
Hyter's Gap the forces of the enemy divided, — those under 
Gillem moving in the direction of Tennessee, those under 


Burbridge going straight toward Kentucky. We followed 
the latter. There is no word in the English language which 
adequately expresses how cold it was. Our horses, already 
tired down and half starved, could scarcely hobble. Those 
of the enemy were in worse condition, and it is scarcely an 
exaggeration to say that for ten miles a man could have 
walked on dead ones. They lay dead and stark, frozen in 
every conceivable and revolting attitude, as death had over- 
taken them in their agony. Saddles, guns, accoutrements of 
all kinds strewed the road like the debris of a rout. We 
picked up many stragglers. Some pieces of artillery were 
abandoned but their carriages were burned. 

When we reached Wheeler's ford, fifty-two miles from 
Saltville, I had left of my three hundred only fifty men. 
Here we had our last skirmish with the enemy and gave up 
the pursuit. More than one hundred prisoners were taken, 
many of them unable to walk. The Federals lost hundreds 
of men whose limbs, rotted by the cold, had to be amputated. 
Such suffering, to be conceived, must be witnessed. The 
raid had accomplished great things, but at terrible cost. 
Soon after this my brigade went into winter quarters. For- 
age was scarcely to be had at all in the department, and I 
sent my horses, with a strong detail to guard and attend to 
them, to North Carolina. The men could scarcely be recon- 
ciled to this parting with their best friends, and feared, too, 
it preluded infantry service. In the huts built at Abingdon 
they were sufficiently comfortable, but were half famished. 
The country was almost bare of supplies. Still they bore up, 
cheerful and resolute. 

In March we were ordered to Lynchburg, to assist in de- 
fending that place against Sheridan. He passed by, how- 
ever, and struck at larger game. About this time the men 
who had lain so long, suffered so much and endured so 
heroically in prison began to arrive. The men who had 
braved every hardship in field and camp were now rein- 
forced by those who were fresh from the harsh insults and 
galling sense of captivity. Six months earlier this addition 
to our numbers would have told — now it was too late. 

morgan's cavalry. 433 

Our gallant boys would not halt or rest until they rejoined 
their old comrades. Then they crowded around with many 
a story of their prison life and vow of revenge — never to be 
accomplished. All asked for arms, and to be placed at once 
in the ranks. 

In April the enemy advanced again from east Tennessee. 
Stoneman raided through North Carolina — tapped the only 
road which connected Richmond with the Southern terri- 
tory still available, at Salisbury, and then suddenly turned 
up in our rear and between us and Richmond. This decided 
General Early, who was then commanding the department, 
to move eastwardly that he might get closer to General Lee. 
All the troops in the department were massed, and we moved 
as rapidly as it was possible to do. General Early having 
fallen ill, the command devolved upon General Echols. This 
officer did all that any man could have done to preserve the 
morale of the troops. He was possessed of remarkable ad- 
ministrative capacity, and great tact as well as energy. 
While firm, he was exceedingly popular in manner and ad- 
dress, and maintained good humor and satisfaction among 
the troops while he preserved order and efficiency. 

General Echols had at this time besides the cavalry com- 
mands of Vaughan, Cosby, Giltner and mine, some four or 
five thousand infantry; the division of General Wharton, 
and the small brigades commanded by Colonels Trigg and 
Preston. My brigade was doing duty as infantry, the 
horses having not yet returned. Marching about twenty-five 
miles every day, the men became more than ever disgusted 
with the infantry service and their feet suffered as much as 
their temper. It was observed that the men just returned 
from prison, although least prepared for it, complained least 
of the hard marching. 

We knew at this time that General Lee had been at length 
forced to evacuate Richmond, but we hoped that, followed 
by the bulk of his army, he would retreat safely to some 
point where he could effect a junction with General Joseph 
Johnston, and collect, also, all of the detachments of troops 
which had previously operated at a distance from the large 


armies. The troops which General Echols commanded were 
veterans, and they understood the signs which were now rife 
and public. But they were not altogether hopeless, and were 
still resolute although their old enthusiasm was utterly gone. 
They still received encouragement from the citizens of the 
section through which they marched. 

While General Echols was still confident that he would be 
able to join General Lee at some point to the southwest of 
Richmond, most probably Danville, we learned with a dis- 
may which is indescribable that he had surrendered. If the 
light of heaven had gone out a more utter despair and con- 
sternation would not have ensued. When the news first 
came, it perfectly paralyzed every one. Men looked at each 
other as if they had just heard a sentence of death and 
eternal ruin passed upon all. The effect of the news upon 
the infantry was to cause an entire disorganization. Crowds 
of men threw down their arms and left and those who re- 
mained lost all sense of discipline. 

On the next day General Echols called a council of war, 
announced his intention of taking all the men who would 
follow him to General Joseph E. Johnston, and consulted 
his officers regarding the temper of the men. The infantry 
officers declared that their men would not go and that it was 
useless to attempt to make them. 

General Echols then issued an order furloughing the in- 
fantry soldiers for sixty days. He believed that this method 
would, at the end of that time if the war was still going on, 
secure many to the Confederacy, while to attempt to force 
them to follow him would be unavailing and would make 
them all bitterly hostile in the future. He issued orders to 
the cavalry commanders to be prepared to march at 4 P M. 
in the direction of North Carolina. 

I obtained permission from him to mount my men on 
mules taken from the wagons, which were necessarily aban- 
doned. My command was about six hundred strong. All 
the men furloughed during the winter and spring had 
promptly reported, and it was increased by more than two 
hundred exchanged men. Of the entire number, not more 

Efop of fyqfo of Oeqefqi ft aU. £#, \ 

Commanding Gen. Morgans Cavalry from S. W. Virginia to Gen. J. 
j£. Johnston's Army at Charlotte, N. C, April, 1864, ant/ Hovlewhile 
with President Davis, from Charlotte to the South Carolina Line* 



sssss'la-licaua Eoute 

facing 434 


than ten (some of these officers) failed to respond to the 
orders to continue their march to General Johnston's army. 
The rain was falling in torrents when we prepared to start 
upon a march which seemed fraught with danger. The men 
were drenched, and mounted upon mules without saddles 
and with blind bridles or rope halters. Everything con- 
spired to remind them of the gloomy situation. The dread- 
ful news was fresh in their ears. Thousands of men had 
disbanded around them. They were told that Stoneman 
held the gaps in the mountains through which they would 
have to pass. The gloomy skies seemed to threaten disas- 
ter. But braver in the hour of despair than ever before, they 
never faltered or murmured. The trial found them true. 
I can safely say that the men of my brigade were even more 
prompt in rendering obedience, more careful in doing their 
full duty at this time when it was entirely optional with 
themselves whether they should go or stay, than they had 
ever been in the most prosperous days of the Confederacy. 
To command such men was the proudest honor that an offi- 
cer could obtain. 

We moved off in silence, broken by a cheer when we 
passed Vaughan's brigade, which was also going on. On 
the next day we were overtaken by ninety men from Gilt- 
ner's brigade, who came to join us. Colonel Dimond and 
Captains Scott, Rogers, Barrett, and Willis, and Lieutenant 
Freeman, well known as among the best officers of the Ken- 
tucky Confederate troops, commanded them. These men 
felt as we did, that disaster gave us no right to quit the 
service in which we had enlisted and that so long as the Con- 
federate Government survived it had a claim upon us that 
we could not refuse. 

The reports that the gaps were occupied by the enemy 
proved untrue, and we entered North Carolina without see- 
ing a Federal. At Statesville, General Echols left us to go 
to General Johnston's camp. Vaughan was instructed to 
proceed to Morgantown, south of the Catawba river, and I 
pushed on toward Lincolnton, where I expected to find 
Colonel Napier with the horses. Just after crossing the 

436 morgan's cavalry. 

river, information was received that a part of Stoneman's 
force was marching from the west in the same direction. I 
hoped, by moving rapidly, to get to Lincolnton first. The 
enemy's column moved upon a road which approached 
closely to the one by which we were marching. Our scouts 
were fighting during the afternoon upon the by-roads which 
connected the main ones. When within two miles of Lin- 
colnton, videttes came back rapidly to tell me that the enemy 
had occupied the town and were coming to meet us. 

I was unwilling to fight, and I knew that to countermarch 
would be ruinous. Fortunately an officer had, a little while 
before, mentioned that a small road turned off to the left two 
miles from Lincolnton and led to other traces and paths, 
which conducted to the main road to Charlotte. The head of 
the column was just at a road which answered the descrip- 
tion he had given, and, strengthening the advance guard to 
hold the enemy in check, I turned the column into it. It 
proved to be the right road and, pressing guides, we reached, 
after a march of twelve or fifteen miles, the Charlotte road 
road and were between that place and the enemy. At day- 
break next morning we moved on slowly The enemy 
reached the bridge over the Catawba after we had passed 
and had partially torn up the bottom. At Charlotte we 
found a battalion of General Ferguson's brigade of Mis- 
sissippi cavalry. 

On the next day Mr. Davis and his Cabinet arrived, 
escorted by General Debrell's division of cavalry, in which 
was Williams' Kentucky brigade, commanded then by Col- 
onel W C. P Breckinridge. In a day or two the town was 
filled with unattached officers, disbanded and straggling sol- 
diers, the relics of the naval forces, fleeing officials and the 
small change of the Richmond bureaux. 

The negotiations were then pending between Generals 
Johnston and Sherman. General Breckinridge, in his 
capacity of Secretary of War, assisted at these conferences, 
but he was impatiently expected by Mr. Davis. The latter 
on the day of his arrival made the speech which has been so 
much commented upon. It was simply a manly, courageous 


appeal to the people to be true to themselves. The news of 
the assassination of Mr. Lincoln was received, during this 
period, but was almost universally disbelieved. When Gen- 
eral Breckinridge arrived, he brought the first authoritative 
account of the Sherman and Johnston cartel. But two days 
later, General Johnston telegraphed that the authorities at 
Washington had repudiated it ; that the armistice was broken 
off and that he was preparing to surrender. Then there was 
another stir and commotion among the refugees. The 
greater part chose to remain at Charlotte and accept the 
terms granted General Johnston's army. 

Mr. Davis, accompanied by General Breckinridge and the 
members of his Cabinet, quitted Charlotte to march, if pos- 
sible, to Generals Taylor and Forrest, in Alabama. The 
five brigades of Ferguson, Debrell, Breckinridge, Vaughan, 
and mine composed his escort. At Unionville I found Col- 
onel Napier, with all the horses he had been able to save 
from the enemy, and seventy or eighty men. This increased 
the strength of the brigade to seven hundred and fifty-one 

I asked and obtained promotion, well won and deserved, 
for several officers. Major Steele was made colonel; Cap- 
tains Logan and Messick, lieutenant-colonels; Sergeant 
Jno. Carter, captain; Captains Davis and Gwynn, of my 
staff, to whom I owed gratitude for inestimable assistance, 
were made majors. I wished for promotion for other offi- 
cers — indeed they all deserved it — but was assured that so 
many commissions could not be issued at once. 

We moved through South Carolina with great delibera- 
tion — so slowly, indeed, that with the detachments con- 
stantly passing them on their way to surrender, the morale 
of the troops was seriously impaired. Nothing demoralizes 
cavalry more than dilatory movements in time of danger. 
They argue that it indicates irresolution on the part of their 

While in South Carolina, an old lady reproached some 
men of my brigade very bitterly for taking forage from her 
barn. "You are a gang of thieving, rascally Kentuckians," 

438 morgan's cavalry, 

she said : "afraid to go home, while our boys are surren- 
dering decently" "Madam," answered one of them, "you 
are speaking out of your turn ; South Carolina had a good 
deal to say in getting up this war, but we Kentuckians have 
contracted to close it out." 

At Abbeville, where we were received with the kindest 
hospitality, was held the last Confederate council of war. 
Mr. Davis desired to know from his brigade commanders 
the true spirit of the men. He presided himself. Besides 
Generals Breckinridge and Bragg, none others were present 
than the five brigade commanders. Mr. Davis was appar- 
ently untouched by any of the demoralization which pre- 
vailed; he was affable, dignified and looked the very per- 
sonification of high and undaunted courage. Each officer 
gave, in turn, a statement of the condition and feeling of his 
men, and, when urged to do so, declared his own views of 
the situation. In substance, all said the same. They and 
their followers despaired of successfully prosecuting the war, 
and doubted the propriety of prolonging it. The honor of 
the soldiery was involved in securing Mr. Davis' escape, and 
their pride induced them to put off submission to the last 
moment. They would risk battle in the accomplishment of 
these objects — but would not ask their men to struggle 
against a fate which was inevitable, and forfeit all hope of 
a restoration to their home and friends. Mr. Davis declared 
that he wished to hear no plan which had for its object only 
his safety — that twenty-five hundred men, brave men, were 
enough to prolong the war, until the panic had passed away, 
and they would then be a nucleus for thousands more. He 
urged us to accept his views. We were silent, for we could 
not agree with him and respected him too much to reply. 
He then said, bitterly, that he saw all hope was gone ; that all 
the friends of the South were prepared to consent to her deg- 
radation. When he arose to leave the room he had lost his 
erect bearing, his face was pale and he faltered so much in 
his step that he was compelled to lean upon General Breck- 
inridge. It was a sad sight to men who felt toward him as 


we did. I will venture to say that nothing he has subse- 
quently endured equalled the bitterness of that moment. 

At the Savannah river, next day, the men were paid, 
through the influence of General Breckinridge, with a por- 
tion of the specie brought from Richmond. Each man got 
from twenty-six to thirty dollars — as he was lucky. Gen- 
erals Vaughan and Debrell remained at the river to sur- 

At Washington, Ga., on the same day, the 7th of May, 
Mr. Davis left us, with the understanding that he was to 
attempt to make his escape. General Breckinridge had de- 
termined to proceed, with all the men remaining in an oppo- 
site direction, and divert if possible pursuit from Mr. Davis. 
That night General Ferguson's brigade went to Macon to 
surrender, Ferguson himself going to Mississippi. On the 
next morning some three hundred and fifty of my brigade 
and a portion of Williams' brigade, under Colonel Breckin- 
ridge, marched to Woodstock, Ga. 

Many men of my brigade, dismounted and unable to 
obtain horses, and many of the paroled men hoping to be 
exchanged, had followed us out from Virginia, walking 
more than three hundred miles. When at length, unwilling 
to expose them to further risk and suffering, I positively 
prohibited their coming farther they wept like children. 

A great portion of the men with Colonel Breckinridge 
were from his own regiment, the Ninth Kentucky, and the 
former "Morgan men," so long separated, were united just 
as all was lost. The glorious old "Kentucky brigade," as 
the infantry brigade first commanded by General Breckin- 
ridge, then by Hanson, Helm and Lewis was called, was 
not many miles distant, and surrendered about the same 
time. Upon leaving Washington, General Breckinridge, ac- 
companied by his staff and some forty men, personally com- 
manded by Colonel Breckinridge, had taken a different road 
from that upon which the brigade had marched. When I 
arrived at Woodstock I did not find him there, as I had ex- 

Hours elapsed and he did not come. They were hours 


of intense anxiety. In our front was a much superior force 
of Federal cavalry, to go forward would provoke an en- 
gagement, and it could only result in severe and bloody de- 
feat. Retreat, by the way we had come, was impossible. 
Upon the left, if we escaped the enemy, we would be stopped 
by the sea. 

I could not determine to surrender until I had heard from 
General Breckinridge, who was, at once commander of all 
the Confederate forces yet in the field, in this vicinity, and 
the sole remaining officer of the Government. Nor, until he 
declared it, could I know that enough had been done to as- 
sure the escape of Mr. Davis. The suspense was galling. 
At length Colonel Breckinridge arrived with a message 
from the General. 

While proceeding leisurely along the road, upon which he 
had left Washington, General Breckinridge had suddenly 
encountered a battalion of Federal cavalry, formed his forty- 
five men and prepared to charge them. They halted, sent 
in a flag of truce, and parleyed. General Breckinridge saw 
that he could no longer delay his own attempt at escape and 
while the conference was proceeding, set off with a few of 
his personal staff. 

After a sufficient time had elapsed to let him get away, 
Colonel Breckinridge marched by the enemy (a truce having 
been agreed on), and came directly to Woodstock. Gen- 
eral Breckinridge directed him to say to me that he had good 
reason to believe that Generals Forrest and Taylor had al- 
ready surrendered. That if we succeeded in crossing the 
Mississippi we would find all there prepared to surrender. 
He counseled an immediate surrender upon our part, urging 
that it was folly to think of holding out any longer and crim- 
inal to risk the lives of the men when no good could possibly 
be accomplished. He wished them to return to Kentucky — 
to their homes and kindred. He forbade any effort to assist 
his escape. 

"I will not have," he said, "one of these young men en- 
counter one hazard more for my sake." 

The men were immediately formed, and the words of the 


chieftain they loved and honored repeated to them. They 
declared that they had striven to do their duty and preserve 
their honor and felt that they could accept, without disgrace, 
release from service which they had worthily discharged 
Then the last organization of "Morgan men" was disbanded. 
Comrades who felt for each other the esteem and affection 
which brave and true men cherish parted with sad hearts 
and dimmed eyes. There remained of the "old command" 
only the recollections of an eventful career and the ties of 
friendship which would ever bind its members together. 
There was no humiliation for these men. They had done 
their part and served faithfully, until there was no longer 
a cause and a country to serve. They knew not what their 
fate would be and indulged in no speculation regarding it. 
They had been taught fortitude by the past, and, without 
useless repining and unmanly fear, they faced the future.